You are probably thinking to yourself “Why in the world would my 18-year-old need an estate plan?” Many people assume that an estate plan is only a will or a trust. However, in the state of California, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Let's paint the picture: Tears are falling down your cheek as you sharply grip the wheel and turn into your driveway. Why are you crying? Well, you just returned from the long-dreaded road trip: the one where you dropped your 18-year-old daughter off to begin her freshman year of college. A couple weeks go by, and your daughter becomes acquainted with her campus and the surrounding areas by driving around with her roommate. But then…. your worst nightmare happens. She stops responding to texts and calls. Your mind goes to the worst-case scenario. Was she in a car crash? You start to panic and call local hospitals in attempts of locating your daughter. The problem is, none of the hospitals can tell you whether she is admitted, or her conditions. This is all thanks to a protected authorization document called HIPAA. Since your daughter is now considered to be a legal adult, not having your name on this document prohibits the hospital from being able to share any of this information with you.
Once your child turns 18, loving parents no longer have legal rights to access their child's medical, financial, or even academic information. The other key component documents that are included in an estate plan are the following: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD), and Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). If your young adult child plans with the correct documents, you and your family would be sufficiently prepared for emergency events. You can start by educating your children on the importance of their medical privacy changes once they turn 18 and encourage them to set these important estate planning documents up to be utilized in the event of emergency situations.