Young Adult Power of AttorneySubmitted by Kaizen Financial Advisors, LLC on September 23rd, 2021
In Case of Emergency: What Every Parent Should Know
When your child turns 18, there can be an abrupt loss of legal power for parents. Even if you are providing financial support, your child transforms into an adult in the eyes of the law.
At the age of 18, the age of majority, a child gains the right to:
- Serve on a jury
- Enlist in the military
- Bodily autonomy
In this article, we are focusing on the Right to Privacy
After the age of majority, the accessibility of an adult child's medical information is limited, often leaving a parent helpless in medical emergencies.
Consider these possible scenarios:
- Your child goes on a spring break trip to Florida with college friends. While there, s(he) is in an accident and is taken to the hospital unconscious.
- Your child suffers a severe head injury at his job, is rendered unconscious, and is rushed to the hospital.
- Your child has a mental health breakdown and is in the hospital, incapacitated.
Your first impulse is to contact your child's medical providers for information on their condition, so you can help them. But as a legal adult, your child has rights, including the right to privacy about their medical information. While you may be distraught, your child's doctor is not obligated to release that information to you without your child's consent and, after a medical incident, your child may be unable to grant consent.
What kinds of information will hospital or doctor share with me if my loved one is unconscious when admitted?
Hospitals or care providers can release general information regarding a patient assuming the patient hasn't, in the past, expressly said not to release it. Or, the care provider may release information, if it is determined that it is in the patient's best interest to disclose his or her information. So, there is a good chance that the hospital would release information to a parent regarding their incapacitated child, however, why leave this up for chance?
Consider these documents that will protect your adult child in case of emergency.
- HIPAA Authorization Form - gives you the ability to ask and receive information from healthcare providers about your child's health status, progress, and treatment.
- A Healthcare Power of Attorney - also known as medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy, grants you the right to make medical decisions on behalf of an adult child. It also allows the agent the right to obtain medical records.
- Durable Power of Attorney - lets you conduct financial business and transactions for your child while they are unable to.
When talking to adult children about this topic they should understand that they are not giving up control, but they are simply granting temporary legal powers to someone they trust in the event of a worst-case scenario.
If you have any questions about this article or any other financial matters, please don't hesitate to contact your Kaizen advisor.