The NY Times has published an article that illustrates the estate planning impact that results from a child hitting the age of majority, namely that the child’s parents no longer have legal rights to be informed about the child’s health.  The article begins as follows:

A COLLEGE freshman walked to a hospital emergency room at midnight and said she feared that she was going to harm herself.

Twelve hours later, after it was determined that she was no longer in danger, she decided to call her parents — but only after a long conversation with a nurse at the hospital about whether she wanted to talk with family members about her experience.

“It was initially a shock to realize that if this had happened the day before, we would have been called immediately,” said her mother, who asked to be identified only by her middle name, Jo, to protect her daughter’s privacy.

Why the difference? The daughter turned 18 at midnight that night and by law had the right to keep the episode private — even from her own parents and even though they would ultimately pick up the bill.

Read the full article at Beyond a Parent’s Reach: When a Child Legally Becomes an Adult – NYTimes.com.

Editor’s Note:  The facts in the NY Times article illustrate the need for parents to ensure that, at a minimum, HIPAA medical release forms and advance medical directives be prepared for children hitting the age of majority.

Posted by Lewis J. Saret, Co-General Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.