ATTENTION 18 YEAR-OLDS (and their parents)!

The age of 18 = legal adulthood in Illinois. You can vote, you can enlist in the military and, most importantly, no more curfews! It also means that your parents are no longer your legal guardians. While this is probably what you’ve been waiting for your whole life, it may also lead to some problems.

Consider this – You’re away at college, or maybe on a spring break trip with your friends. You get in a car accident or have some medical emergency (e.g., heatstroke, seizure, fall at a party or get hit in the head playing soccer resulting in a concussion). What will happen when your parents are notified and told by the police, paramedics or doctor at the hospital that they cannot share any information about your medical status? What if a decision or authorization for a procedure is needed? Who has the legal authority to make decisions for you if you can’t make them for yourself? You no longer have a legal guardian.

In Illinois, your parents (note, plural) have this right if you are not married. What if your parents don’t agree on what to do? Maybe they’re divorced and you never see one of them. Don’t you want to choose who has the right to receive medical information about you and to make important medical decisions for you? Not to mention, without a legally enforceable document appointing a parent (or another person of your choice) as your agent, that person will have more difficulty dealing with the doctors.

At age 18, you can, and should, sign certain documents in which you can specify who can have access to your private medical records, who can make medical decisions for you, and what should happen if you are ever in need of life support. These documents are a HIPAA Authorization, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will.

In addition to health care directives, you should also sign a Durable Power of Attorney, which will give someone of your choosing the legal authority to help you with financial matters, including tuition bills, financial aid, credit cards, insurance and other issues immediately, and even if you ever become incapacitated or disabled.

Don’t wait – prepare and sign these documents now. Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is running a special rate for “2019 College Days” in August. Our experienced attorneys can explain these documents to you and tailor them to your specific needs and stage in life. The estate planning attorneys at WPD are more than just attorneys — we are concerned parents who understand that even grown-up kids need help in life.

Should you have any questions about HIPAA Authorization, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will or would like to schedule an appointment during WPD College Days, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online. Should you not be a college student or not have a college student, but have estate planning needs, please schedule a free initial consultation.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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