The Big 18: Legal Documents to Secure Your Child's Future

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    If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve got a newly-minted 18-year-old under your roof—congratulations! It’s a huge milestone for your child and for you as parents. But while turning 18 is a big moment of celebration, it also comes with a significant shift in legal responsibility. Here at ProSe Legal, we’re breaking down the essential legal documents every fresh 18-year-old should have in place.

    1. Advanced Healthcare Directive

    First on the list is an Advanced Healthcare Directive. When your child turns 18, they are legally an adult, meaning you can no longer make medical decisions on their behalf without proper authorization. Should your child face a medical emergency and be unable to make decisions, an Advanced Healthcare Directive allows you or another trusted individual to step in and make those important calls. It’s a crucial document that ensures your child gets the best care according to their wishes. This document also includes a Living will which expresses your child’s wishes regarding end-of-life care. Although no parent wants to think about such scenarios, having this document can provide peace of mind that your child’s desires will be honored if the unthinkable happens.

    2. Durable Power of Attorney

    Next up is the Durable Power of Attorney. This document is another must-have as it grants you the ability to handle financial matters on behalf of your child. From managing bank accounts to paying bills in emergencies, having this legal authorization can prevent a lot of potential headaches. It’s especially useful if your child is off to college or plans to travel extensively.

    3. HIPAA Authorization

    A HIPAA Authorization allows you to access your child’s medical records. Even with a Health Care Proxy, healthcare providers might still withhold information without this authorization. Having it ensures you can stay informed about their medical status and necessary treatments.

    4. Will

    Even if they don’t have significant assets, creating a simple Will is important. It outlines how your child’s assets and personal items should be distributed in case of death. It’s an act of foresight that can help prevent legal battles and ensure their wishes are respected.

    Why These Documents Matter

    Turning 18 is exciting for teens as they gain new freedoms, but it’s crucial to remember that those freedoms come with responsibilities. These legal documents ensure that you, as parents, can still offer crucial support and guidance. They also empower your teen to make decisions and prepare for the unexpected, fostering a sense of responsibility and maturity.

    Secure your child’s future by starting with the fundamentals. After all, turning 18 should be about celebrating a bright future, not fretting about it. Here’s to making adulthood for your kids as promising as possible! Visit for additional information on documentation for your child.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    A FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) Waiver permits parents to access their child’s educational records once they are 18 or enrolled in college. This waiver is crucial because without it, parents may be unable to obtain important information about their child’s academic progress or intervene in case of academic issues, even though they may still be providing financial support.

    Yes, it is advisable for an 18-year-old to have a simple Will, even if they don’t have significant assets. A Will outlines how they wish their assets and personal belongings to be distributed in the event of their death, which can prevent potential legal disputes and ensure their wishes are respected. It typically includes directives about assets, personal items, and choosing an executor to manage the estate.

    Start the process by having an open discussion with your child about the importance of these documents and their preferences. Then, consult with a legal professional or use a reputable legal service platform like ProSe Legal to draft and finalize these documents. Many of these documents can be prepared using templates, but it’s often beneficial to get professional advice to ensure everything is correctly and comprehensively executed.

    It’s a good practice to review and potentially update these legal documents every couple of years or whenever there are significant life changes, such as moving to a new state, changes in financial status, or changes in personal relationships. Regular updates ensure that the documents reflect your child’s current wishes and circumstances.

    Get Started Today!

    At ProSe Legal, we understand navigating these legal waters can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help! Our platform provides resources and support to create these essential documents easily and affordably. Take the first step—set aside some time to discuss these plans with your child and reach out to us to get started on the paperwork. Being prepared now can save you and your family a lot of stress down the line.

    For more information on how we can assist your legal document matters, today or call (909) 497-1349 to schedule your next appointment with our team of professional LDAs or LDPs!