As the parent of a child, it is only natural to assume that in the event of an emergency, you would have authority to act on his or her behalf. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. If your child is injured, you may not be able to make critical medical decisions without first obtaining a legal guardianship. Similarly, you may also not be able to manage or access your child’s financial assets and other personal information. The good news is that planning ahead can prevent these issues. A basic estate plan that includes the essential documents for any person 18 years or older can prevent unnecessary and costly delays in the event of an emergency.

How do the essential estate planning documents help in the event of an emergency involving my child?

Certain essential estate planning documents are critical for every individual who is 18 years old or older. As the parent of a college-age child, it is important to have these documents in place for your son or daughter. The following are the essential documents and the key benefit they provide:

  • Durable general power of attorney. This document appoints you as the agent or attorney-in-fact to act on behalf of your child with regard to financial and other personal matters. The document takes effect immediately, regardless of whether your child is incapacitated.
  • New Hampshire advance directive. This document allows you, as agent for your child, to make critical medical decisions in the event your child is incapacitated. Your child may also voice his or her opinions with regard to end of life care through the living will contained in the document.
  • Massachusetts health care proxy. Similar to the New Hampshire advance directive, the health care proxy appoints an agent to make decisions regarding medical care during a child’s incapacity.
  • HIPAA release. This document is effective as soon as it is signed and gives you access to your child’s medical records and the necessary authority to speak directly to his or her health care providers, regardless of whether your child is incapacitated.

Estate planning can feel like an overwhelming process for young adults and their parents. Fortunately, we offer an easy, efficient, and affordable process to help you accomplish this critical task.

We encourage you to contact us today by emailing Attorney Candice O’Neil at [email protected] to learn more.