Estate Planning Advice for Parents of Young Adult Children

Often overlooked by parents are important legal needs of their children who are turning 18 and of those who are young adults. Yet each of the following parental concerns can be easily handled for California residents:

  1. Who will make medical decisions for your adult child if your child became unable to give informed consent to medical decisions? Once your child is 18 or older, have him or her sign an Advance Health Care Directive to avoid the problems that arose in the Terri Schiavo case or a court conservatorship of the person.
  2. Who will manage your adult child’s financial affairs if your child became unable to sign what is needed? To avoid a court conservatorship of the estate, have your adult child sign a durable general power of attorney.
  3. Who would manage and inherit whatever assets your adult child owns? Avoid the cost and uncertainty of a court probate proceeding by having your child add beneficiaries to his or her accounts and, where appropriate, complete a living trust or at least a will.
  4. Who should own the car that the child drives? Consult with your casualty insurance broker and compare the additional cost of insurance with just your child being the sole owner of the car with the benefits of reducing your exposure by you not being the owner of the car that your child drives (especially if your plan is to have your child own that car “when the time is right”).
  5. What liability insurance should the parent have on that car (if the parent decides to own that car) and how much of a liability umbrella policy should the parent have? Consult with your casualty insurance broker to protect your estate, as your estate can be liable for damages caused by your child’s operation of your car.
  6. What liability insurance should the child have? Consult with your casualty insurance broker.

Help your adult child obtain and maintain proper health insurance coverage, especially once the child leaves your health insurance policy.

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