Incapacity Planning for Young Adults

Estate planning is often the last thing on the minds of young adults. As a recent article explains, however, incapacity planning is a facet of estate planning that is absolute necessity for everyone, and especially beneficial to young adults.

Incapacity planning is one of the first parts of estate planning that young adults should complete. Incapacity planning is done through a health care directive and a living will. Through these documents, a person can decide who will make his or her medical decisions should he or she become incapacitated and therefore unable to express them.

Many young adults do not plan for incapacity because they believe that, if they ever become incapacitated, their parents will make medical decisions for them. In reality, parents cannot legally participate in any medical decisions pertaining to their adult child without a health care directive granting them such authority.

Parents and children are also surprised to discover that, once a child has reached the age of majority, his or her parent has no right to his or her medical records. In order to allow your parents access to your medical records, you must execute a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) authorization.

Although grim, parents should speak with their young, college-bound children about the possibility that they could be involved in a serious accident, and urge them to complete some level of incapacity planning.