My child is having their 18th birthday soon, is there anything that I need to know?

At the age of eighteen your child is no longer a minor in this state.  You no longer have the authority to make health care decisions for them or manage money for them, even if you are paying their tuition or health insurance premiums.  If your adult child is in an accident and becomes disabled, you may need to seek court approval to make healthcare decisions for them, which can be expensive and time consuming.  You can protect your adult child by having them sign an Advance Healthcare Directive, which allows them to authorize someone to make medical decisions on their behalf.  It also allows them to express their preferences regarding end-of-life care and organ donation. 

Another document that I recommend to protect your adult child is a financial power of attorney, which allows them to appoint a trusted family member or friend to act on their behalf in several financial and legal matters.  The financial power of attorney can take effect either at the time your adult child signs the document or if they become incapacitated.  There are benefits and risks to either scenario that will vary based on everyone’s individual situation.  You should always seek advice from competent legal counsel before signing a financial power of attorney.

Your child can receive their inheritance at the age of 18.  If you do not have a Children’s Trust in place to arrange for them to get the funds over a number of years, for example: 1/3 at 21 years of age, 25 and thirty years of age, then they get it all immediately at the age of 18 or whenever probate closes.