The words “teenager” and “estate planning” are not typically used in the same sentence unless the typical spendthrift ways of teenagers are being discussed. That’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is the fact that every person, age 18 or older, needs his or her own estate plan.
Legally, an adult
As you know, if your teenager as attained the age of 18, he or she is legally an adult. So scary, but so true. This means that to speak to medical doctors about your child or to access your child’s bank account, you must have legal authorization.
While your teenager is likely thinking about the next football game, prom, date, and college, it is in your best interest and that of your child for you to schedule an estate planning appointment and get a basic estate plan in place.
Simple, basic estate plan
Your 18 year old is not going need a grand slam estate plan, a basic plan will likely do. Every 18 year old needs:
- A will to appoint an executor and distribute assets no matter how miniscule they may be
- A financial power of attorney so the agent can manage assets while he or she is away at college or incapacitated
- A medical power of attorney so the health care agent can communicate with medical professionals, access medical records, and make health care decisions if your teenager is unable to make those decisions
- A HIPAA release so medical professionals can disclose information to named health care agents
- A living will if your teenager doesn’t want to be kept alive with machines if terminally ill and at the very end of life
- An organ donation form
If you have questions about estate planning for your teenager, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.