Raising children is a commitment. We know it’s our responsibility to guide them through life’s biggest ups and downs. We have to teach them how to walk, how to talk, how to eat, and so much more. As they grow into their teenage and young adult years, we have to sit down and talk with them about how to act in certain situations.
One of the talks you should have with your growing teenagers is about estate planning. With school out for the summer, some kids are getting ready to pack their bags and head off on their own for the first time. This is the perfect time to explain to them what’s to come. After all, California estate planning is for all adults, regardless of wealth.
So, what advice should you give your kids before they go out on their own?
Have a Plan
The first and most straightforward advice is that anyone over 18 should have a plan. Your first estate plan will likely look nothing like your final estate plan, but the earlier you get started the better. We can’t predict when the worst may happen, and estate plans do a lot more than just plan for end-of-life care and the transfer of assets.
Estate planning can cover important healthcare decisions, cover your finances when you’re unable to make decisions for yourself, and, in the case of young adults who are starting a family, protect your loved ones when you’re not able to be there. These are all active considerations for adults of any age.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
What many families don’t know is when someone turns 18, their healthcare information is no longer immediately accessible by their parents. If your child goes off to college and something terrible happens, you’re not immediately entitled to know what happened, what hospital they’re at, what treatment they’re receiving, and when or if they’re being released from the hospital. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects all of this information.
For the protection of your children and your own peace of mind, your children should at the very least have a Healthcare Power of Attorney. This is a tool to ensure someone you trust can make healthcare decisions for you when you’re incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself. Your child can make their own choice about who will be their Healthcare POA, but parents are a natural choice during young adulthood. If they want to go with someone else they trust, it’s okay to let them make these decisions.
Durable Power of Attorney
Your child may be making their own money and with this comes the power to choose what to do with that money. A California Durable Power of Attorney can make your financial decisions when you’re unable to do so yourself.
It’s referred to as a “Durable” Power of Attorney as the decision-making ability of this type of POA needs to be “durable” through the point of incapacitation. If a young adult has bills to pay, money to move, and other important financial considerations to make while they’re incapacitated, their Durable POA will be able to make those decisions in their place. Like a Healthcare POA, the Durable POA will be an important tool to have when a young adult goes out on their own for the first time.
Work with an Estate Planning Attorney
When you’re an adult, you may have a better understanding of your own estate plan and what it entails. When you’re a young adult, this is all likely very new to you. We should allow our children to grow and make their own decisions, but we should also provide the necessary resources for them to succeed.
Guiding your children to a California estate planning attorney could set them on a path to success. At Solan, Park & Robello, we work with people of all ages to formulate the right estate plan for them. We care for your family’s future. Contact our team to make sure you have the right tools to take care of yourself and your loved ones today.