As summer draws to an end and fall approaches, parents with children who are about to attend college face a number of big decisions. While it might be difficult right now to directly acknowledge it, once a child reaches the age of 18, he or she is viewed in the eyes of the law as an adult and the parent loses a great amount of control over the child. For this reason, it is vital that parents of older children ensure that those children have a sufficient estate plan in place.
There is a long-standing myth that younger people do not need estate plans, but in reality, serious accidents involving younger individuals occur all the time. The following will review some of the important types of estate planning documents that your older children might need.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney
Children who reach the age of 18 should make sure to designate a health care power of attorney, who will appoint an individual to access the child’s medical records in case the child ends up incapacitated. In some situations, these documents also appoint individuals to make healthcare decisions on the incapacitated child’s behalf.
If something happens to a child and he or she does not have this document, a parent will be forced to make any necessary health care decisions, which may not always be the ideal situation.
Living wills play an invaluable role in estate planning because they dictate who will make end-of-life decisions, which include whether the child would like to receive life-prolonging measures. Many people also decide to use living wills to express their organ donation wishes.
The terms of a living will are immediately effective when a patient is diagnosed as permanently unconscious or terminally ill.
Financial Powers of Attorney
Many older children also consider writing a financial power of attorney. Similar to a health care power of attorney, this estate planning tool enables an individual to appoint someone to act on his or her behalf when financial matters are involved.
Unfortunately, many people forget about these documents because they believe that young adult children lack the financial means to warrant this type of estate planning.
Based on a child’s assets, it is possible that the child might require a will. While not as common as the other types of estate planning methods mentioned in this article, the creation of a will can be highly beneficial for some younger individuals.
By creating a will, it is possible to avoid any uncertainty about how assets should be distributed. Wills are also revocable, which means that a child can rewrite a will later on in life if necessary.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
The estate planning process can be invaluable, no matter your age, but it is not without its complications. If you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, do not hesitate to contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free initial consultation.