Parents are accustomed to making decisions for their children but at age 19 (Alabama), your ability to make decisions for you child changes. While unmarried adult children may be perfectly capable of making their own decisions, the consider the following circumstances:
- Your 24-year-old son working in another city is injured in an accident and unable to make healthcare or financial decisions.
- A single adult daughter (with children) is hospitalized with an illness that renders her temporarily unable to care for herself.
- A 19-year-old college student is in a car accident, suffers a head injury, and is unable to communicate.
While the above are unlikely hypothetical situations, we are aware of several instances where unmarried adult children were hospitalized with COVID and placed in intensive care.
As an adult, your son or daughter has a right to privacy which means hospitals and physicians will be unable to take directions or provide medical information to you – even if they are covered by your health insurance. You may have the same issues while trying to help with finances if a child is unable to manage their affairs. With no documents, you may be forced to hire an attorney and go through the process of being appointed guardian.
Getting an advanced directive for healthcare, durable power of attorney, and HIPAA release is a great way to arm yourself with the ability to help.
You and your spouse should also have similar documents for each other. Recent changes likely mean you and your spouse may need to update existing documents.
Now is a good time to consider updating your estate planning and other planning documents if it’s not been done recently or your situation has changed. Call your Dent Moses advisor to discuss. If you need a referral for an attorney that practices in these areas – we’re happy to help.