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The Loss of Control When Your Child Turns 18

When your child turns 18 years of age, they are legally considered adults. In addition to earning the right to vote, being required to register for the military draft, serve on a jury, etc., they also get the ability to make medical, educational and financial decisions on their own. If you are a parent who has maintained close control over your child, this loss of power may come as a shock to you and create a bewildering field of choices for them. 

Your 18-year-old child will have control over their educational records in college as well as financial accounts – even if they are not paying for school. As a parent, this can be disconcerting, especially if your child chooses not to share their grades with you. 

Healthcare control, including mental health issues, also transfer directly to the 18-year-old. Unless your child requests you to be contacted, they are under no legal obligation to tell you about any medical issues they may be having. That said, if your child is in college, school officials can contact parents if they feel the child is suicidal, homicidal or has violations involving drugs or alcohol. 

You Can Recommend a Level of Protection

One way to help your child protect themselves is by recommending they legally designate agents under a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney. In the event they become incapacitated (due to an accident, illness or injury), the person(s) they name can help make healthcare and financial decisions on their behalf. It is important that they name someone they trust with these important decisions and have the documents drafted by a professional. 

Read a related article in The New York Times

The Brown Law Firm, LLC Can Help

The Denver estate lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC can prepare financial and healthcare powers of attorney for an adult child as well as other estate planning documents. We will help your child consider different scenarios that they may not know about so they can take control over their lives. Contact us today at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to start the conversation.