Among the presents and the fun is the realization that what was once a “little bundle of joy,” is an adult, going off to college or the military. Your little bundle of joy is all grown up, and will really be on his own. This is the day when, besides presents, parents need to think about five documents to have in place in case the unthinkable emergency should occur.
- HIPAA: The first document you should have is a signed HIPAA authorization. This is, essentially, a permission slip permitting healthcare providers to disclose information to whomever is named in the authorization. Because your eighteen-year-old is now legally in charge of his life, healthcare providers are no longer authorized to discuss your child’s medical condition with you. Your child does not have to disclose any information that he wants to keep private on the HIPAA document.
- Medical Power of Attorney or Healthcare Power of Attorney or Health Proxy: With this signed document, you have the authority to make medical decisions for your child, in the event he is unable to do so.
- Durable Power of Attorney: When your son signs this document, he is enabling you to take care of business in his behalf in the event that he is studying abroad or has become incapacitated. The Durable Power of Attorney would include things like signing tax returns, accessing bank accounts and paying bills.
- Advance Care Directive, aka Living Will: Accidents happen. Car crashes are the number one cause of death among teens in the USA. An Advance Care Directive dictates your child’s wishes concerning life-extending medical treatment and organ donations.
- Will: The final document that your child should prepare on his 18th birthday is a will. By drafting a will, your child begins to think seriously about the future. In some cases, a teenager might have a trust that a grandparent has left to him. He will need to have a plan in place as to where to direct this money and, also, his meaningful possessions if he should die. An example of a meaningful possession could be a dog. What’s going to happen to the dog, if your eighteen-year-old should die? Will he be euthanized, sent to a shelter or given to a trusted friend?
All the above documents, not just HIPAA, can be as wide in scope or as narrow as your child wants to make them, and he can revoke them at any time he wishes. What’s important, is to get them in place. Call 216-831-0042 to speak to Al Hehr at Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis for birthday wishes, more information and any help that we can offer you in preparing these documents.