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So, Your Teenager is Now a Legal Adult. What Now?

If you have an 18-year-old (or older) that is now ready to tackle life as an adult, there are a few things you as a parent should consider. Has your teen signed a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Surrogate Designation or a Living Will (Ancillary documents)? If your teen has signed these documents, do those documents contain HIPAA language? Ultimately, the question is will you have the power to step in and make decisions for your teen if they are unable?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a useful tool regarding finances. Your teen may be going off to college in a different state, or even a few hours away in the same state. If someone has been designated as their Agent (or attorney-in-fact) under a Durable Power of Attorney, they have the power to handle financial situations that may arise. In a similar situation, if your teen has joined the military and is heading off to bootcamp or has been stationed somewhere distant, their Agent would then have the power to handle any of their finance or automatic bills, like car insurance and health insurance premiums, just to name a few.

A Health Care Surrogate Designation can be one of the most important documents to have. If there is a healthcare emergency, who will have the power to communicate with doctors and make decisions if your teen is unable? If nobody has been designated and the situation is an emergency, it is so important to have a decision-maker in place to prevent any issues from arising during the normal course of treatment.

teenager sitting on rock

A Living Will is a document that can provide your teen the ability to make their own decision regarding artificial means of life support. It is a tough matter to consider, but if the situation arises, how does your teen feel about their quality of life and their options for remaining alive artificially? Having a Living Will in place can alleviate potential burdens on family members during difficult times. Many teens have never even considered this situation, but if it occurs, what would they want? The Health Care Surrogate can make this determination if no Living Will has been signed.

HIPAA language is required to have access to your teen’s medical records, sometimes even if they are still covered under your health insurance. It is important to have access to your teen’s medical records before health care decisions are made on their behalf, especially in an emergency when all of the facts matter. This is why at our firm we include the required HIPAA language as a standard part of our Ancillary documents.

It is important for parents to discuss these documents with their teens and encourage them to consider their options. While it may seem daunting or unnecessary at this stage in life, having these ancillary documents in place can provide peace of mind for both parents and young adults as they navigate the challenges of adulthood.

At Lacey Lyons Rezanka we have standard pricing for our Ancillary document packages. For the first new adult, the package price is $500. Our firm offers a discounted rate for families with multiple children, so each additional child’s Ancillary document package is $350.00. Contact our firm to find out how we can help you and your teen tackle adulthood.

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