As a parent, it can be hard enough to look ahead to the future and consider that your child could be moving out of the house to go to college, join the military or take on a new job. But part of the estate planning process does consider when your child reaches the age of 18, since he or she will be officially a legal adult at that point in time.
This means that 18 is also the recommended age for the creation of an estate plan with basic documents like advanced directives and a power of attorney. Since your child will be named as a legal adult at age 18, as a parent you are no longer equipped to make decisions on behalf of your child unless your child has granted you that ability.
Using tools like a health care proxy which can enable you to make medical decisions on behalf of your loved one or a power of attorney to assist with financial and legal decisions in the event that your teenager becomes incapacitated, are both important.
Unfortunately, everyone is at risk of accidents, diseases and sudden illnesses that could rob even a teenager of mental and physical health. If your teenage son or daughter does not have a healthcare proxy or a power of attorney, you could be at risk of having to go through the additional frustration and expense of a guardianship proceeding to enable a judge to appoint a legal guardian to make decisions on behalf of your teenager.
These guardianship proceedings are also frequently invasive to privacy and can be one additional hurdle that you don’t wish to go through after dealing with the process of your teenage son or daughter suffering through an accident or serious illness. For this reason, you need to contemplate the prospect of estate planning that can be done with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer.