Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Estate-Planning Documents Every 18-year Old Should Have

Many young adults believe they do not need to meet with an Arkansas estate planning attorney because they are too young, do not have sufficient assets, or they simply do not want to deal with issues related to death or incapacitation. However, when a child turns 18 years old, they are no longer a minor. They now have certain privacy rights that a parent cannot violate. Unfortunately, these privacy rights could prevent a parent from caring for or assisting a child once the child is no longer a minor.

Therefore, parents and young adults should work with an Arkansas estate planning attorney to ensure that a child has the estate planning documents in place that are necessary to allow a parent to continue to care for and assist a child even though the child is now considered a “legal” adult by the law.

Three Estate Planning Documents Your 18-Year Old Needs Now

Without the necessary estate planning documents, you could be forced to petition the court to become your child’s guardian or conservator should your child become incapacitated for any reason. The process of being appointed to handle your child’s medical and financial affairs in an emergency can be costly, emotional, and time-consuming. To avoid any problems, you and your child should discuss the following estate planning documents with an Arkansas estate planning attorney now.

Medical Power of Attorney with an Advance Directive and HIPAA Provision

Once your child turns 18 years of age, you do not have the legal right to receive health care information or records concerning your child.  However, a Medical Power of Attorney authorizes you to make health care decisions for your child if your child is unable to do so. In addition, by including an Advance Directive, you may also make end-of-life care decisions on your child’s behalf.

The Medical Power of Attorney should also include a HIPAA provision that authorizes any health care provider to release information and records concerning your child to you. It is also a good idea to include mental health care providers in the provisions of the power of attorney and the HIPAA clause.

General Durable Power of Attorney

A General Durable Power of Attorney gives you the authority to make financial decisions for your child. You can act as an agent for your child to receive income, pay bills, open and close financial accounts, and manage other assets in your child’s name. If you intend to continue managing your child’s financial assets, a power of attorney is essential. The “Durable” provision ensures that you can continue to exercise your authority under the power of attorney should your child become incapacitated.

If you do not intend to manage your child’s financial affairs, your child can choose to use a power of attorney that does not grant any powers until and unless your child should become incapacitated. At the very least, this would give you the authority to manage your child’s assets and finances if he or she cannot do so because of an illness or accident.


Your child may not own a substantial amount of property, but everyone needs at least a simple will. Having a will ensures that your child decides how his or her property is distributed. Otherwise, the state makes that decision for your child.

Contact an Arkansas Estate Planning Attorney for More Information

Discussing end-of-life and incapacitation issues can be difficult for parents and 18-year-olds. Contact the Arkansas tax lawyers at Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC today. Working with an experienced Arkansas estate planning attorney can make it a bit easier and less stressful for everyone.

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