Turning 18 is one of the best times in a young person’s life. Teenagers are excited to leave high school behind, prepare for college, and make their mark upon the world. Your teenager is now considered to be an adult in the eyes of the law with certain rights to privacy and independence.
Along with these rights also come responsibilities. You, as a parent, will no longer be able to control the healthcare decisions of your child if they get sick or injured. Medical professionals have no obligation to follow anyone’s wishes regarding treatment or consent except for the patient. In addition, medical professionals will require a signed HIPPA form from the patient before they can even share any of their health care information or records. Once you do find out your child is ill or hurt, you may still face obstacles in determining whether and where your child has been admitted to the hospital. If your child is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves, absent an Advance Health Care Directive, crucial time may be wasted due to disagreements among the next of kin over treatment options. Also, if you are the stepparent of the patient, you may not have any authority to make decisions without a Health Care Proxy. Furthermore, if your child fails to pay their bills for rent, utilities, loans and credit cards for an extended period while they are incapacitated, or for any other reason, they will likely find themselves in severe debt with a ruined credit rating once they get better.
Although this situation may sound dire, it is very simple to prevent with good estate planning. Contact us today and set up a free consultation to discuss how to prevent this from happening to your teenager and instead get them started on the path to becoming a responsible young adult.