The Boston Globe had a recent article explaining the importance of certain documents that adult children should have.
Proper planning can help bring everyone some peace of mind, ensuring that someone can make their decisions if they are unable to make them, and to allow you to have access to critical information.
Here are the 3 essential documents your adult child should have in place, whether they are staying in Massachusetts, going off to college in another state, or (particularly important) going abroad to study or travel:
1. Health Care Proxy: A child over 18 has authority to make his/her own health care decisions, including whether to disclose information to parents or anyone else.
The Health Care Proxy allows your child to name another person (typically parents) to make their medical decisions if they are unable make or communicate them. This should be done for Massachusetts as well as the state where they are attending college (each state has its own form and requirements).
2. "HIPAA" Authorization: Federal law prohibits information about your child's health from being disclosed to anyone other than your child.
The "HIPAA" Authorization form allows your child to designate you (or another person) to have access to his/her medical information.
I typically combine the Health Care Proxy and the HIPAA Authorization into 1 document, and I am able to prepare these forms for MA and all other states.
3. Power of Attorney: The Power of Attorney allows your child to name you (or another person) to be able to handle financial-type matters for him/her, such as dealing with banking, signing tax returns, and other non-medical decisions.
In addition to allowing seamless decision-making, having these 3 simple, yet important, documents in place can avoid a lengthy probate process such as guardianship in the event that an adult child becomes incapacitated.
In addition to these 3 "lifetime" decision-making documents, adult children should also have a simple Will if they own any assets, including investment accounts and/or stocks.
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Please feel free to contact me with any questions at all!