With a new school year about to start, I am reprinting an article I posted several years ago for parents with children going off to college or just moving out of the house. If you decide you might need to help your children with some planning, please call my office for an appointment.
Are you still the parents of your “adult” children?
In a recent article in the Dallas Bar Association’s “Headnotes” newsletter, Lori Ashmore and Gary Ashmore of The Ashmore Law Firm, PC remind us that while we are biologically still the parents of our adult children, we may not be allowed to act that way. For example, if your college student is admitted to a hospital, the doctors there may not provide you any information about your child’s condition or injuries. You may not be able to move your child to a hospital nearer home and your student’s landlord may not allow you to act for your child regarding his or her lease.
Why? Because in Texas, a person becomes an adult at age 18. Just as you need estate planning documents to allow others to act for you in certain circumstances, so does your adult child. “Absent proper estate planning, there is no legal right for parents to make decisions for their children after they attain the legal age of majority.”
So when your child turns 18 and before they move into their own apartment or travel off to college, you should encourage your child to sit down with your estate planning attorney to discuss how to address these concerns. Documents that should be considered include a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney, a HIPAA Release, and a Directive to Physicians and Family (Living Will).