If you are the parent of a young adult that is about to leave home for college or attend a gap-year program, you should ask your young adult to sign a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy.  These are estate planning documents that are equally essential for young adults.  Without either document in place, parents of young adults lack the authority to make health care decisions or manage money for their kids after they turn 18, and in the event of an accident, a parent might need court approval to act on behalf of their adult child.  This risk is real because accidents are the leading cause of death and non-lethal injuries for young adults.

If you find your child is reluctant to sign these documents, make it a condition for any ongoing or future financial support you will provide your child while they are at school.

See Deborah L. Jacobs, “Two Documents Every 18 Year Old Should Sign,” Forbes.com (Aug. 15, 2014).

Posted by Chuba Abaelu,

Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal