SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Does your will have provisions for adult children? Attorney Susan Mielnikowski from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield joined us with advice on estate planning for adult children.
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Estate Planning For Adult Children
Making a Will, creating a Power of Attorney, those are just some of the things you need to do to protect you and your spouse. But should you worry about planning for your adult children?
Absolutely. We all provide for our children when they are under the age of 18, making sure we nominate guardians to care for them if we are unable. What happens when your child reaches age 18? There is a period of time, when an adult child is in college, in the military, starting a business, just getting started, but possibly not yet independent. During this time, they can legally act for themselves, and you can no longer act on their behalf. If your 18 year old child has a medical crisis, or a legal issue, you will not have the legal authority to act on their behalf.
I suggest that parents ask their adult children to execute a Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney, giving the parent the legal authority to act on their adult child’s behalf in the event they are unable to act for themselves. For example, with regard to medical issues, imagine that your adult child is away at college and has a medical problem. If you are not named as their health care agent, you will not have the legal authority to access their medical records and make medical decisions on their behalf. As we are all aware, privacy laws surrounding medical records are very strict. Once your child attains age 18, their records will be private, unless they have given you access via a validly executed Health Care Proxy.
What about legal issues?
The same concerns apply with regard to legal issues. Once your child reaches age 18, you will not have access to their bank accounts, employment records, tax returns, contracts or other legal data. If your adult child becomes incompetent for any reason, either temporary or permanent, you will not have the authority to access their private information, or to act on their behalf without a Power of Attorney.
We advise clients to urge their children to name them as Health Care Agent and Power of Attorney as they turn 18.
About Cooley Shrair:
Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients’ needs is the foundation of our mission statement.
At Cooley Shrair, family and business have always had a way of blending together. We know the importance of balancing the boardroom and the courtroom with the living room from time to time. We listen carefully to understand our clients’ concerns and work vigorously with them to develop strategies for success. It’s not just business, it’s personal.
We pride ourselves in being the most responsive lawyers in the area, covering virtually every area of practice for individuals and multinational corporations across the United States and Canada. Cooley Shrair is recognized consistently for exceeding client expectations and providing competent, integrated, and cost-effective legal services.
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