Protecting Your Young Adult

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2012 09:56 Written by Chris Griswold Thursday, 12 January 2012 09:27

For those of you with children that are (or will be) 18 years of age or older and unmarried, this one is for you.  Parenthood, like the joy of putting up Christmas lights, is laced with love, joy and fear (just like the scene of “Clark W.” putting up lights on his roof in the movie Christmas Vacation).  Regrettably, we all hear about young adults (who are really just kids) that have unexpected, near-death accidents.  These accidents seem, for whatever reason, to happen most often during the holiday season and/or on Spring Breaks (which is just around the corner).  Afterwards, these “children” are admitted to hospitals for care and that’s where the relevance of this topic comes into play.  Accordingly, if you have (or will have) children which potentially fit into this 18+ category, read more below (and don’t forget to click on my Facebook or YouTube links below to also see my short video on this material).


Protecting Your Young Adult

Fact Pattern: Your 19 year old daughter is hit by a drunk driver while driving home from college for the holidays and is admitted to a nearby hospital (we all know how horribly often this type of scenario happens).  Luckily, the hospital’s administration found enough good identification on your daughter to enable them to quickly contact you.  You rush off to the hospital to comfort your daughter.  After speaking to doctors and nurses, you understand the prognosis.  You tell the doctor what you want to do, what care you want your daughter to receive going forward and what decisions you’ve made concerning your daughter’s medical care.  When you’ve finished speaking, the doctor gives you a funny look….

Issue: The doctor tells you that, since your daughter is over 18 and unmarried, she is legally an adult and the hospital will have to make all of these decisions for your daughter – unless you have a medical, durable power of attorney which your daughter has previously signed appointing you (or somebody else she trusts) with such power of attorney over her.

You can’t believe what you’re hearing. In your mind (and in reality) your daughter is just a baby and, except during the school months of the year, still a member of your household.  You should be the one making decisions, not the hospital.  However, your daughter is 18+ so she’s legally an adult.  The upshot is you should have, at some point after she turned 18, had her sign one of these.  Folks, this stuff happens every day.  Don’t let it happen to you….

If you need one of these medical, durable (means it stays in effect whether or not your child is still competent or capable of making decisions for themselves) powers of attorney for your child, let me know.  I’ll be glad to send you the form for free….

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