In today’s rapidly changing world, young adults often find themselves navigating a multitude of responsibilities and decisions as they embark on their journeys toward independence. While estate planning might seem like a topic more relevant to older generations, it holds a crucial significance for young adults as well. The truth is unforeseen circumstances can affect anyone at any stage of life, underscoring the importance of having essential estate planning documents in place. These documents provide a sense of security and control over one’s future and offer a practical way to ensure that one’s wishes are honored in situations that may involve medical emergencies, financial uncertainties, or unexpected life events. As such, young adults (and their parents) increasingly recognize the value of establishing these foundational legal instruments early on to safeguard their well-being and protect their assets.
What legal documents do your young adults need when they turn 18?
It’s great that you’re considering legal documents for a young adult at 18. At this point, individuals become legal adults and have certain rights and responsibilities. Some essential legal documents for a young adult to consider include:
1. Healthcare Power of Attorney: This document designates someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves.
2. Durable Power of Attorney: This grants someone the authority to manage their financial affairs if they become incapacitated.
3. Living Will: Also known as an advance directive, a living will outlines their preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care.
4. Last Will and Testament: While typically associated with older adults, it’s never too early to create a will to outline how they want their assets distributed in case of their passing.
5. HIPAA Authorization: This allows healthcare providers to share medical information with designated individuals.
6. Digital Assets: As technology becomes more integral to our lives, it’s important to consider what should happen to their online accounts and digital property after their passing.
Some additional legal documents to consider include:
7. Rental Agreement: If they’re moving out of their parent’s home or living independently, a rental agreement can help outline their responsibilities as a tenant.
8. Bank Account Documents: If they’re opening a bank account, they will likely need identification documents and possibly a parent or guardian’s signature if they’re under 18.
10. Student Loan Agreements: If they’re pursuing higher education and taking out loans, they should be aware of the terms and conditions of their loans.
Remember, legal requirements can vary from state to state, which is why it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney when your young adult is ready to set up their first estate plan.
Why do parents want to have their 18-year-old child’s legal documents in order?
Parents often want to ensure that their 18-year-old child has their legal documents in order for several important reasons:
1. Healthcare Decisions: Legal documents like a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will can allow parents to make medical decisions on their child’s behalf if they cannot do so themselves. This becomes crucial in case of accidents, emergencies, or medical situations where the young adult cannot communicate their wishes.
2. Financial Management: With a Durable Power of Attorney, parents can manage their child’s financial affairs if the child becomes incapacitated. This can be especially helpful when the young adult is away at college or living independently and needs assistance with financial matters.
3. Peace of Mind: Parents naturally worry about their children’s well-being. Knowing that their child has taken steps to address important legal matters can provide parents with peace of mind, knowing that their child’s interests are protected even if they are not directly involved in every decision.
4. Asset Distribution: While it might not be pleasant to think about, having a Last Will and Testament ensures that the young adult’s assets are distributed according to their wishes in case of their passing. This can help prevent confusion, disputes, and potential legal issues among family members.
5. Privacy and Communication: Documents like HIPAA Authorization allow parents to access their child’s medical information and communicate with healthcare providers if necessary. This can be critical in situations where quick decisions need to be made about medical treatment.
6. Transition to Independence: As young adults transition to independence, having these legal documents in place empowers them to take control of their own lives while still having a safety net in case of unexpected events.
7. Avoiding Legal Complications: Without proper legal documentation, parents might face challenges in accessing their child’s medical or financial information, making decisions on their behalf, or managing their affairs if needed. These challenges can be avoided with the appropriate legal documents in place.
8. Educational and Employment Needs: Some legal documents, such as what is needed when signing rental agreements or managing student loans, might be necessary as young adults pursue higher education or enter the workforce.
By helping your young adult put their first estate plan in order, you, as a parent, demonstrate your support, care, and commitment to your child’s well-being and future. It teaches your young adult responsibility and becomes a great lesson that will benefit your child as they move through life. If you have any further questions about what legal documents your young adult might need, or you are ready to make some moves and start to get these in order, contact Cris Carter Law today.