WILL YOU BE ABLE TO HELP YOUR 18+ YEAR OLD CHILD IN A MEDICAL EMERGENCY?
At the suggestion of my partner, I recently read an article in Consumer Reports prompting this blog. Ironically, I had taken these very steps with my son, but never gave it a second thought that most people wouldn’t think of these issues. Once your child turns 18, even though you may still be financially and medically responsible for your young adult, s/he is an adult and you have lost many of the rights that were automatic the day before when s/he was 17. Therefore, your child, if they wish for you to still be of assistance to them in a medical emergency, needs to execute an “Appointment of Healthcare Representative” (HCR) under Connecticut law or, at least, a HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release form which will allow you to receive medical information, but not make any decision for him or her. If they are going out of state (i.e. college), then they should probably execute that state’s equivalent to the HCR to avoid any complications of interpreting another state’s form if that emergency does occur. Colleges may have their state’s form readily available for the asking. I would further recommend a Living Will (Advance Directive), Power of Attorney and a Last Will and Testament (in your child’s home state only).
The knee jerk reaction to an eighteen year old creating a Last Will and Testament is they are young, so they don’t have any assets to protect. What if that medical emergency we are talking about was the result of a car accident that was someone else’s fault which caused your child to become a paraplegic? Having these documents in place will make yours and your child’s life a whole lot easier than the alternative of having to apply to the Probate Court to be appointed his or her conservator to make decisions (assuming the injury caused mental incapacity). Each of these documents has been discussed in detail in other blogs here on our website which I invite you to review and share with your young adults.