Q: What estate planning documents should my son, who just turned 18 and is planning to attend college in the fall, have in place?
At age 18, your son is now an adult in the eyes of the law. This means you no longer have the authority to make decisions regarding his medical care, nor will you have access to his finances if something happens to him.
Since you are no longer in charge, your son’s greatest liability from a planning perspective is what would happen if he were incapacitated by illness or injury and become unable to make decisions on his own behalf. To prepare for this scenario, you should have your son sign three key documents: medical power of attorney, a living will, and durable financial power of attorney.
Medical power of attorney allows your son to grant you (or someone else) the legal authority to make healthcare decisions on his behalf in the event he is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for himself. Used in conjunction with medical power of attorney, a living will provides specific guidance about how your son would want his medical decisions made in the event he is incapacitated.
Finally, if your son is incapacitated, you may also need the ability to access and manage his finances, and this is done with durable financial power of attorney, which gives you the authority to manage his financial and legal matters, such as paying tuition and managing his bank accounts.
As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you create each of these documents to ensure your son is adequately protected as he begins his new life as a young adult.
This article is a service of Chris Green, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.