#RichLifeLawyer Podcast 007: Protecting Your Kids After 18 Years Old

#RichLifeLawyer Podcast 007: Protecting Your Kids After 18 Years Old

A lot of the talk estate planning attorneys do regarding safeguarding your kids is related to guardianship.

We all know it’s important to have a plan in place so if something happens to you while your kids are young, under 18, there is someone there to watch them and take care of them.

But once they turn 18 another problem crops up, and it’s probably something you’ve never thought about.

Now that your 18 year old is an adult, they are entitled to the same protections and privacies you are, which means in order to have access to your child, they have to give it to you.

This podcast is all about protecting your kids after 18 years old. And it’s also about your 18 year old protecting themselves.

Power of Attorney

Before your kids turn 18 you have legal authority to contract for your kids. You have legal authority on their bank accounts. You have legal authority to sign the checks on their bank accounts.

But once they turn 18 all of that changes.

Now, that might not seem like a big deal, but what happens if your kid get in an accident? What if a car hits them while them while they are biking on campus?

Who can pay their rent? Who will pay their credit card bills?

A power of attorney will allow you to do this. It will allow you to help your kid manage their life if something happens to them.

Medical Power of Attorney

This document is probably even more important than the standard power of attorney.

Once your child turns 18 in the eyes of the law they are adult. That means they are responsible for making adult decisions but it also means they are given adult privacies.

One of these areas of privacy relate to the release of medical information. HIPPA restricts medical personnel from releasing the medical information of its patients without a signed waiver.

Going back to the example above, without a signed medical power of attorney, the hospital would not be able to tell you about the status of your child and you would not be able to give the hospital any information about treating your child.

The Solution is Simple

Taking care of this problem is actually quite easy. Your child simply needs to execute a power of attorney and medical power of attorney?

What? You aren’t sure how to bring this up?

Here are a couple of ideas.

First, you could talk to them about it like an adult. Point out that you have these same documents because they protect you in the event of an accident (you do have these documents, right?). Let them know it is their decision to make and it’s an important one, and hope they do the right thing.

Second, if that doesn’t work, you could point out to them that you are paying their tuition/rent/books/etc. and point out that without this paperwork you are going to think twice about doing that.

I’d recommend the first course of action first, and would recommend thinking long and hard before implementing the second course of action.

If you decide this is right for you and want to take a next step, please give me a call.


Christopher Small

P.S. Do you have kids? Have you completed guardianship paperwork? Have you done it correctly? Click here to find out what happens if you don’t do anything: Are you okay with a judge choosing the guardians of your children?

P.P.S. Do you own a business? Do you have a plan so the business, and your family, can survive if something happens to you? If not, click here to learn how simple it is to protect your business and your family from tragedy: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Catastrophic Failure.

P.P.P.S. Do you have no kids and think you don’t need an estate plan? Single and think a will is only for married couples. You couldn’t be more wrong. Click here to learn more: 5 reasons estate planning is a must have even if you don’t have kids.

Christopher Small is a Kirkland estate planning attorney who helps people get rich and live forever. He is also the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC.

Protecting Your Kids After 18 Years Old Transcript

Hey everybody this is Christopher Small, this is episode seven of the rich life lawyer podcast. On this episode of the show we’re going to talk about the one piece of college prep that you’re not doing that can impact your lives forever. Let’s just call it forever. So that’s probably what it’s all right now, it’s May, you know it’s coming around the high school kids are graduating. People think about college they are getting ready to go and you probably will be here in and see you around August or September because I’m gonna release this and push it to you every time because every year at those times because it’s that important.

Basically whenever your kids are turning eighteen, there’s an important thing that you need to do to make sure that you can continue to help and support them in the way that you want and I’m sure that they want as well. And let me just give you a scenario here. Let’s say that your kid goes off to college, even if they stay in the same town as you let’s say, you know, we’re in Seattle, let’s say they go to you deb and they’re in the dorms or whatever fraternity, sorority, doing their thing and you get a call one day. Your kid has been, was on their bike and get hit by a car. They’re in the hospital and you know they’re hurt.

You rush to the hospital and you tell them you know I’m here for Sally. She’s been involved. She was on a bike and she was hit by a car and the doctors tell you, I’m sorry but we can’t tell you any information about Sally. We are restricted from doing so by privacy laws and you’re going to just have to wait until she wakes up, until she provides access or until she gives access to you or until you go to a court and to a judge and have the judge give you the power to get that information.

Terrible feeling. The worst of all. Also let’s just also just imagine that under that same scenario. Then your kid is Sally, she’s hurt and she’s in the hospital for three weeks. She’s in a coma. She got hit by the car and her recovery is expected to occur but during a time soon, coma. How are you going to, how she going to pay your rent, maybe your credit card bills. How is she going to get pay her phone bill. Get access to her e-mail. Get access to letting a job know that she is, she’s unavailable to work right, school, all those things. Well right now, there’s not going to any way to really do that.

You would have to just guess, to hope that people will listen to you. But you don’t have any authority to actually make those things happen. So what’s the most important document that you need as you prep for your kid to go to college or you know whether or not they’re going to college. Even if they’re just, once they turn eighteen these things become important. Not everybody needs college and that’s not what I’m trying to say here. What I’m talking about here are two documents. The power of attorney and medical power of attorney. Medical power of attorney gives you access to that medical information and allows you to help make medical decisions if necessary.

And then the power of attorney. Allows you to step in and manage those financial aspects of your child’s life. If that’s necessary. So how do you put these two things together? It’s pretty simple. You can actually do online if you want. The problem with the online ones is you know, you never know if these things are going to work. Until you have to use them. So you’re taking a bit of a risk. You can also contact a lawyer. Obviously and this is one of those things that’s super important as a public service announcement on my part. If you don’t want to use me, if you have an estate planning attorney already that’s fine call them right now.

Tell them, hey my concern is eighteen I need to put together a power of attorney for them and medical power of attorney for them. One little side note one I guess the important piece of information is that your child is going to have to agree to this and sign those documents. These are their documents that they’re signing they’re giving you authority to act on their behalf. So you know there are a couple ways to do this. You have a conversation with them and you can bring them into the attorney’s office and the attorney can explain that to them. I know I can do it in a way that would come through. You can also attach signing these documents to certain things that you’re providing, right, if you’re paying for tuition. If you’re helping to pay for rent.

If your kid is moving across the country, you may just say look these are things I really want you to do so that you can be safe, that you could say you can be protected and you can tell them, look I have the same documents in place right now for myself and they’re important and that’s why I’m asking you to put them together as well. So before you go to school, before your kid turns eighteen,after they turn eighteen, actually and as they sort of begin to move into that next phase of life. Make sure that they are doing the right thing. That they are acting as adults and they’re making sure that their butt is covered, right, from a financial and a medical purpose strategy, standpoint.

So get that done and if you do, you know, you’ll sleep better at night. Kids would sleep better at night. Everybody will be happier and if those emergencies arise, no matter how big or small you can be comforted knowing that the first part, the hardest part, the access to taking care of details is already buttoned up and ready to roll. That’s it for this week. If you have a question you can always e-mail me chris@CMSlawfirm.com. You can call me, 266-591512. You can Google me. You can go to Google, ask the questions out there too, you’ll see the same thing. So the important part is to take action whether or not you do take action with me, I don’t care. Quite frankly I just want you to do it. This is bigger than me so get that done and good luck to your kid, every day, bye.