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When Your Child Turns 18

Turning 18 is one of those threshold moments. Your child is now, legally speaking, an adult. That means you are no longer entitled to medical or financial information about your child without his consent. This could be disastrous if your child is seriously ill or injured.

As an adult, your child needs these 3 documents:

  1. Advance Health Care Directive
  2. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
  3. Simple Will

In the Advance Health Care Directive, your child names you as his healthcare agent. This allows you to can make medical decisions for him if he’s unable to speak for himself. It also authorizes the hospital to tell you about his medical condition. There are many forms available online and from health care providers like Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health.

The California statutory form is available here:
California Statutory Advance Health Care Directive

The durable power of attorney authorizes you to deal with your child’s bank accounts, talk with the university’s finance department, and sign contracts on his behalf. He must choose whether the power is effective immediately or becomes effective only upon his incapacity.

The California Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney is available here:
Sacramento County Law Library
Alameda County Law Library

The simple Will nominates an executor for your child’s estate and details any specific gifts to family or friends. A California Statutory Will is available here:

Sacramento County Law Library form
California Bar Association form