While we may know better, an 18-year-old college student is generally considered an adult under New York law. Your rights as a parent to make decisions for your child change suddenly when he/she turns age 18. You no longer have complete access to your child’s financial, education and health records, even if you’re still paying the hills. Since it may be important for you to be able to make important financial and/or health decisions for your child, it’s important to establish your legal ability to do so ahead of time. Therefore, your child should have a health care proxy and a power of attorney in place once he/she turns age 18. In certain circumstances, you should also consider having your child prepare a Will.
Your child should sign a health care proxy appointing you or another trusted adult to make medical decisions for them, if necessary. A health care proxy should include HIPPA language, enabling the doctor to disclose medical information to you.
Your child should also sign a durable power of attorney, appointing you or another trusted adult to act as agent for him or her in a variety of legal and financial matters. For example, if your child is spending a semester abroad, you would be able to wire money from your child’s account, or sign important legal documents (such as a lease) in his or her absence.
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Reprinted with permission from Lloyd Harbor Life, June 2018 issue.