The Importance of Power of Attorney and Health Care Documents for Your Young Adult Children

As many young people are preparing to graduate and leave home for the first time to attend college or are already out living on their own, there are many exciting and important things to think about. Among these considerations is ensuring that your young adult child has the proper legal documents in place, like a financial power of attorney, HIPAA Authorization, and health care directive. These documents are vital because they allow you to make health care and financial decisions for your child if they get sick or are injured and cannot do so for themselves.

Understanding Power of Attorney, HIPAA, and Health Care Directive Documents

Power of Attorney  is a legal document that gives someone the authority to act on another person's behalf in financial matters generally when there is an incapacitating event.

HIPAA Authorization for Release of Medical Information is a document allowing designated recipients the ability to access medical information about the person executing the document. This can become crucial especially during an accident when a person is hospitalized in order for family to receive information about a person’s condition.

Health Care Directive, like a health care proxy or medical power of attorney, allows someone to make medical decisions if the person is unable to do so themselves. They may also include special directions to the agent regarding end of life decisions and organ donation.

Why Are These Documents So Important?

1. Legal Independence at 18: When your child turns 18, they are legally an adult. This means you no longer have the automatic right to make decisions for them, even in emergencies. These documents give you the legal authority to step in if ever necessary.

2. Quick Decision Making: If your child is sick or injured, quick decision-making is crucial. With these documents in place, you can make immediate decisions about their health care without legal hurdles like getting permission from a court.

3. Financial Management: College life comes with its own set of financial challenges. If your child is unable to manage their finances due to illness or injury, a power of attorney allows you to handle their financial affairs, such as paying bills or managing their bank accounts.

4. Peace of Mind: Knowing you can legally help your child in any situation provides peace of mind for both you and your child. They can focus on their studies and social life, knowing you're there to support them if needed.

5. Emergency Situations: Emergencies can happen at any time. Whether it's a sudden illness or an unexpected accident, having these documents in place ensures that you can act swiftly and effectively to care for your child's needs.


Steps to Take

1. Discuss with Your Child: Have an open conversation about why these documents are important. Explain that it's not about taking away their independence but about ensuring their safety and well-being. Even consider sharing this short article with them.

2. Consult a Lawyer: It's best to consult with a lawyer to draft these documents. They can ensure everything is done correctly and according to current state law.

3. Keep Documents Accessible: Make sure you have copies of these documents and know where the originals are kept. Share copies with your child's school or any relevant institutions if necessary.

4. Review Annually: Life changes, and so do needs and circumstances. It's a good practice to review these documents annually to make sure they still reflect your child's wishes and current situation.

As your child embarks on their new journey into adulthood, creating a power of attorney, HIPAA, and health care directive for them is a simple but powerful step to ensure you can support them during emergencies. It provides legal authority, quick decision-making ability, and peace of mind, allowing your child to focus on their college life knowing you're there to help if needed. Don’t wait for a crisis to happen—take action now to protect your child's future.

We offer our clients a package called the “College Protection Plan” that has the right power of attorney documents, HIPAA, and health care directive to ensure their children are protected. If you need help protecting your young adult child after they have turned 18, please reach out to our Intake Department at 760-448-2220 or at We have offices in San Diego County (Carlsbad) and Orange County (Laguna Niguel), but we assist can families throughout California as well.

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