We’ve written on this subject before but there’s no overstating the need to impress upon adult children the importance of planning for the future. Estate planning begins as soon as a person reaches the age of majority and it doesn’t end until you meet your maker. As your children reach adulthood, you need to talk to them about establishing an estate plan and as you do, you need to ensure that your own remains up-to-date.
Three Estate Planning Myths to Address with Adult Children
Talking to adult children about the importance of estate planning starts by dispelling common misconceptions about the subject. The best way to avoid oversights is to ensure both parents and children are on the same page.
Myth #1: Your parents retain access to your medical records because you’re still on their insurance.
As soon as you reach the age of majority, you gain full control over your healthcare. This means that only people you authorize can access your medical records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) obliges insurance companies and health care providers to protect the privacy of their patient’s health records. To grant your parents access to this crucial information, you need to sign a HIPAA Authorization.
Myth #2: Mom and dad can come to your rescue if you get into a serious accident.
Just as your parents lose the ability to access your medical records when you reach the age of majority, so too do they lose the ability to intervene in your care unless you’ve signed an advance healthcare directive or medical power of attorney (POA). This document allows you to designate a person to make medical decisions on your behalf should you suffer incapacitation.
It’s not just your health that you need to worry about in the case of an emergency but your finances, as well. Alongside a medical POA, every adult needs a durable financial POA that designates a loved one or trusted advisor to care for their financial needs in the case of grave injury.
Myth #3: Only elderly adults need a Will.
It’s a common misconception that only the sick and elderly need a Will. On the contrary, everyone, no matter how much they own or how much longer they expect to live, needs to have this essential document on the books. Not only is this because your belongings, no matter what they are worth, mean something to those you love but because a Will does a lot more than distribute your assets.
When you write your Will you state who will gain ownership of your digital assets when you die, who will act as guardian to any dependents you may have, and how you wish your funeral to be performed, among many other important details.
Updating your Estate Plan as You and Your Family Grow
Having an estate plan, including an advance healthcare directive, durable financial POA, and Will is great but only if these documents are kept up-to-date. This is true for adult children and their parents, alike.
When your children were born, you established guardianship designations. As they grow up you need to begin planning for their inheritance which often means establishing a living trust and speaking to them about your aims and wishes. An experienced estate planning attorney is your best resource for getting this right and ensuring no conflict erupts in response to your decisions.
To learn more about this or to address any other matter related to estate planning, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Jim Miskell at the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia either by calling 770-822-2723 or using the contact form on our website.
Contact the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia