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Natick - Local Town Pages

Protecting Your Young Adult

Tiffany A. O’Connell, Esq., LLM, CELA, AEP®
Principal Attorney
O’Connell Law LLC

Do you have a child turning 18 years old anytime soon or has turned 18 years old and is in college?  You may be surprised to learn this, but when your child turns 18 years old, your child is an adult, and you no longer have access to their medical records or financial records.  Further, once your child turns 18 years old, you no longer have the parental right to make decisions for them.  If you want to be able to continue helping your kids, read on.

HIPAA Authorization:  Let’s first talk about medical records. Maybe your now adult child has a doctor. Maybe he or she doesn’t. If your adult child does not sign a form that says, “My parent has access to my medical records”, you won’t be able to get access to their medical information.  You can solve this with what’s called a Universal HIPAA Release Form (“HIPAA”).  If your adult child is willing, they can execute and sign a HIPAA that appoints you to have access to their medical records.

Health Care Proxy:  Now, what about being able to make health decisions for your adult child?  Again, if your adult child is willing, your adult child can execute and sign a health care proxy where your child gives you authority to make medical decisions for them when they cannot. Think about this – They are away at college…or they’re traveling (and maybe they’re taking that trip you wanted to but couldn’t because you’re putting them through college). A health care proxy is the document that will give you legal authority to make those medical decisions for your child when they cannot.

Financial Durable Power of Attorney:  Now, what happens to access to your adult child’s financial records or to your ability to gain access to your child’s financial information and accounts? When your child turns 18 years old, they probably don’t want you on their bank account any longer. That’s not surprising, right?  Legally, they can now have their own bank account. If you have a joint account with your child, your child can remove you from the bank account, but they still may need help. If your child executes and signs a financial durable power of attorney, where they name you as the power of attorney agent to act for them, you can then you can go to the bank or handle any financial matter for them if they are unable to do so. Until you are officially named as a power of attorney agent, you have absolutely no ability to access to their financial records should something happen.
If something does happen and your adult child has not put in place the above legal documents, you may be faced with having to go into the court system to get officially appointed as your child’s guardian and/or conservator if something happens to them.  This can take up a lot of precious time and is expensive and stressful.
Parents, consider helping your child along so that your child understands what being an adult is and what responsibilities they now have. We, at O’Connell Law LLC, take this seriously and have set up a special and affordable online package to help your young adult child easily get the above documents in place and still have an attorney who will guide them on the decisions they are planning to make.  Talk with your child now and encourage them to get their key estate planning documents in place.  When your child is ready, you can have them go to this landing page at: You can also find information at our website:  When they are ready to get this done, they will need your credit card information if they don’t have a credit card themselves.  Let us help you help your son or daughter so that they can get an estate plan done right now.  Your son or daughter may not think this is very important (do you remember feeling immortal?); but think of the peace of mind this will bring you…and the protection it will give your child should something unexpected happen.