Updated: Aug 28
In California, once your child reaches age 18, they are considered adults under the law, meaning that they are legally responsible for making their own decisions. What parents don’t often realize is that this can create serious and frustrating roadblocks when it comes to their child’s care in an emergency situation.
Once a child turns 18, hospitals and medical personnel are no longer required to ask the parent’s permission before performing medical procedures. In fact, they are no longer required to share information with the child’s parents at all.
All of this can be avoided by having your child execute an Advanced Health Care Directive. This document doesn’t need to be complex, but it should nominate an agent or agents to make health care decisions if your child cannot.
You should also consider having your child execute a Durable Power of Attorney. Like the Advance Health Care Directive, it allows your child to nominate an agent to make financial decisions if they cannot. With such a document, a parent can handle a child’s assets, sign important documents, pay a child’s bills, etc.
If a child has more substantial assets, setting up a Will or a Trust may also make sense.