Season of Change: The Advanced Health Care Directive for the 18 Year Old and The Parent

High school graduates have had a summer of transition. Most have turned 18 or soon will. The back-to-school theme means gearing up for change; the seasons, moving away to college or travels away from home. There is excitement about the adventure and independence. In the eyes of the law, once a child turns 18 they are adults, living at home or not. Being considered an adult from a legal standpoint has many responsibilities and consequences. (For more on this, download a free pamphlet provided by The State Bar of California, “When you turn 18, A survival Guide for Teenagers").

For parents and guardians, this milestone is met with some trepidation. Your adult child will now be making decisions independent of your watchful eye. Sometimes, accidents happen and there is a safety net you can implement that the law will recognize. The advanced health care directive is a legal document that gives you peace of mind should a medical emergency occur. Without an advanced health care directive, if you are notified your adult child has been taken to the emergency room, hospital officials will not divulge any information to you. This form of power of attorney allows you to have authority to make decisions for your child’s health if they cannot make decisions for themselves, and it give you access to medical records of your adult child which permits you to ask questions and get answers should something happen.

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