4 Essential Legal Documents When Your Child Turns 18

legal documents at 18Turning 18 is a momentous occasion for any child, as they are now considered to be a legal adult.  Almost certainly, their first response is probably not going to be to rush out and have legal documents prepared. However, there are very good reasons to do exactly that – as soon as possible.

While they may enjoy the initial feeling of freedom (to vote, enter into a contract and make legal decisions on their own), that freedom comes with a great responsibility that they may not be fully prepared for.  As such, they may still want some support from you, as their parent, when it comes to serious decisions regarding their well-being.  Especially when they go off to college, they need assurance that you can help, even from across the country.  The following legal documents will provide peace of mind for both you and your child.

Medical Power of Attorney

If your adult child ends up in the hospital, a medical power of attorney can give you the authority to make medical decisions for them if they are unable to do so.  Without one, all medical decisions would be made solely by the doctors.

General Durable Power of Attorney

This document gives you the authority to make financial decisions on your adult child’s behalf.  This can allow you to help manage bank accounts or pay bills, or make larger decisions if they are unable to due to illness or disability.  Additionally, it can give you access to your child’s grades and transcripts.  Many parents do not realize that this information is not automatically available to them just because they are paying the tuition bill!


The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information and prevents disclosure of certain healthcare information without patient consent.  The HIPAA form is a very specific document which permits healthcare providers to release medical information to persons named in the form.  It can be customized to specify exactly what information to disclose, and what not to, in case there are certain issues they wish to keep private.

Living Will

In addition to the above legal documents, a living will is also important for your adult child to have.  The living will document specifies which healthcare procedures they do or do not want if they were to become terminally ill or in a vegetative state.  If you are given the authority to make medical decisions for your child, it is very important to know their wishes about life-extending medical treatments or organ donation.

We Prepare Legal Document and So Much More

As your child becomes an adult, heads off to college and begins their new independent life, make sure they still have the support of loved ones in case of emergency.  The attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd have decades of experience in estate planning and other areas of law, and can help you understand exactly which legal documents will benefit your child as they move through life’s important stages.  We can advise on powers of attorney and living wills, setting up a business, purchasing a new home, litigation strategies and so much more.  It’s never too early to make sure your child has the legal protection they need.  Contact us at 847-223-1500 to get started.