Estate Planning for my children? That is (not) crazy.
At what age should my son or daughter create their estate plan?
Believe it or not, as soon as possible after their 18th birthday.
Why? Because no matter how immature or irresponsible or dependent on you your son or daughter may still be, upon turning age 18 your parental legal rights cease to exist in many circumstances.
This means if you get a call in the middle of the night from a hospital advising that your child has been admitted for medical care, that may be the extent of information the hospital gives you because of federal HIPAA law.
You can ask - you can beg - you can plead for more information, but in many cases you won’t get any additional information until you fax or deliver to the hospital a HIPAA Waiver, previously executed by your adult child, granting third parties’ permission to share medical information with you. And even if you do manage to obtain information about your adult child’s condition without presenting a HIPAA waiver, it is even more unlikely you would be able to authorize medical treatment without additional powers of attorney documents granting you such legal authority.
The moral here is that while you may be cheering your son or daughter’s 18th birthday, there are unique legal consequences to reaching this milestone.
Make sure to encourage your son or daughter to develop their estate plan early to enable you to continue your involvement and guidance in the most critical decisions affecting them.