Congratulations! Graduation is the culmination of years of hard work, and often years of private school tuition payments. Graduation from high school also generally means that you are at least 18 years-old. Aside from purchasing alcohol, there is now very little you cannot legally do. Even though you may not feel any different, from a legal standpoint, a lot has changed.
When you were a minor (under the age of 18), your parents were considered your legal guardians and were responsible for making all of your decisions for you. Now that you are an adult, their legal authority is much more limited. Although this new found freedom may sound exciting, there are a few things you need to consider:
- Access to medical information. As a legal adult, you are protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This means that your private medical information can only be disclosed to those individuals you have authorized. If you want your parents to continue having access to this information, you will need to have a HIPAA Authorization Form prepared appointing your parents, or anyone else you designate, as an Authorized Recipient.
- Medical decisions. Chances are, if something were to happen to you rendering you unable to make decisions, it would be your parents that you would rely on to make decisions about your medical treatment. As a minor, your parents automatically had that authority, but now that you are an adult, you must formally grant them this authority. This can be accomplished through the preparation of a Health Care Power of Attorney.
- Financial decisions. If you are planning on going away to college or spending any significant time away from home, having a Durable Financial Power of Attorney in place may be helpful to you. Up until now, if you needed a parent to make a withdrawal from a bank account, or sign something on your behalf, there was no need for any additional steps because they were your legal guardians. However, now, if you want them to continue providing the same services, you will have to grant them this authority through the Financial Power of Attorney.
- A Will: At first glance, this may seem a little silly for the average broke college kid. In our digital age, there are some hidden complexities. For example, on average, an email account today is tied to 130 or more online accounts, each with their own username and password. Who should manage your social media and email accounts, receive valuable gaming accounts, and close down other apps and accounts?
We’ve been helping families attain peace of mind for years. Planning for recent high school graduates as they prepare to head to college or start their careers is an important part of a family’s estate plan. Contact McCarthy Law Office to get started.