Some young and single individuals have the luxury of living that “carefree” lifestyle. They may have worries, but usually limited to worries about themselves. Many do not have children. Many have parents that are still in good health and do not require their assistance. In fact, some younger adults may still rely on their parents; perhaps not for day-to-day needs, but for that secure feeling of knowing in an emergency a loved one will be able to help them.
It is important to remember children 18 years or older are legal adults. Young adults and their parents often believe that a parent can still act for a child as they always have, and are surprised when they discover that is not the case. Some examples of things a parent cannot do for their adult child without a Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy and Advanced Healthcare Directive are:
- Sign legal documents
- Access records related to work, school, leases, utilities, etc…
- Access/manage financial assets
- Access medical records/information
- Discuss healthcare treatment options and make medical decisions if your child is unable to do so
- Discuss health insurance issues including billing issues related to your child (even if the parent pays the premiums)
- Provide evidence of a child’s end of life healthcare wishes
So enjoy that carefree lifestyle, but take some time to discuss these issues with your parents and a professional. Make an appointment with an estate attorney to educate yourselves and prepare these important documents. For a parent, knowing that you can help your child if needed will give you peace of mind. For the young, single individuals, taking these simple steps increases that “carefree” feeling, knowing that there is a solution if such problems arise.