The age of majority in the State of Florida is 18 years old. That means when your child turns 18, you lose all your powers and authority over that child as the parent, regardless of whether that child still lives at home, is still attending high school, or is 100 percent dependent upon you. It means you no longer have the authority to consent to medical care or make any financial decisions on behalf of that child.
Without the proper legal documents, there could be significant problems if your child were to become incapacitated, however unlikely that may be. All too often, after a severe illness or accident, the parents of a young adult are shocked and devastated to learn they have no control over their child’s medical treatment or finances.
Medical Advanced Directives
To avoid the worst-case scenario, your adult child should execute advanced directives, such as a Health Care Surrogate. This document allows the agent that a young adult chooses, usually a parent or parents, to make life-sustaining treatment, crisis care, and end-of-life decisions if they cannot communicate.
A living will is another type of advanced directive that allows an adult child to put in writing their wishes for specific life-sustaining treatments and whether they should be provided or withheld. Examples are blood transfusions, artificial nutrition or hydration, and resuscitation in the event of cardiac or respiratory failure.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legally binding document that is beneficial to young adults when they reach the age of 18. Without this document, privacy laws do not allow parents to converse about finances with their adult child’s banks, insurance companies, or even their college. A power of attorney is a valuable tool for parents whose children are away at college, out of the country for educational opportunities or deployed while in the military. The type of power of attorney you create can vary depending on your needs.
It is Never too Early to Start Planning
Creating estate plan documents will allow the parent or parents to continue to guide medical care and access finances if something unforeseen happens to their adult child. The cost of these documents is minor but can be of tremendous benefit under certain circumstances. If the circumstances arise, and the documents are not in existence, then it is too late to obtain them because an incapacitated person cannot create such documents. Depending on your particular situation, there may be other legal documents or actions to take to protect the interest of an adult child.
The Importance of Having an Estate Plan Cannot Be Overstated
Regardless of age, our health can decline anytime through unexpected illness or injury. At C.J. Hilliard Law, P.A., we help adult children draft and execute estate-planning documents, helping them make informed decisions.
If you believe our law firm can be of service to you in this area, please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your situation. Schedule a confidential appointment at C.J. Hilliard Law, P.A., by calling (407) 656-1576. Our office location is Winter Garden, Florida, and we represent clients throughout Orlando and Central Florida.