Estate Planning Your Child Needs Once They Turn 18

You may still consider your 18-year-old a child, but to the world, they are an adult. As your child graduates from high school and heads out into the newfound ventures of adulthood, it’s important to consider the legal implications that arise when they legally become an adult. To the surprise of many parents, when a child turns 18, healthcare and financial information becomes private and parents no longer have the right to make medical or financial decisions for their children. To prepare for this, below are the documents we recommend every legal adult has in place:

    1. HIPAA Authorization (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
      • A HIPAA release permits medical providers to share your child’s medical information and records with you. If you want to have access to your child’s medical records while they are off to college, this document is essential and can be written to cover all healthcare providers in every state.
    2. Health Care Power of Attorney
      • Also known as a “health care proxy,” this document enables you, as agent, to make medical decisions on behalf of your child in the event they are not able to do so. Importantly, the drafting and requirements of these documents may differ by state, thus ensuring it applies to where your child is likely to be located is critical. The scenarios that may lead to this document being needed are difficult to picture, but in the event it’s required, you will be very glad you have it.
    3. Living Will
      • A Living Will spells out your child’s end of life wishes with regard to medical treatment. When your child becomes a legal adult, you no longer have this legal role.
      • If your child hasn’t named an agent to act on their behalf, a probate court proceeding may be required before someone is able make legal decisions.
      • By planning ahead, your child can receive the proper medical care and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief.
    4. Financial Power of Attorney
      • Similar to the Health Care Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney grants you, as agent, the authority to access your child’s financial records and manage financial affairs on their behalf.
    5. FERPA Authorization
      • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records. With FERPA consent, educational institutions can release your child’s education records to you. This authorization would allow you to have access to transcripts, disciplinary actions, scholarship related information and tuition information.
      • In addition, this is required to access records maintained by a college campus health clinic, even if a HIPAA Authorization is available.

Who Should Act as My Child’s Agent?

      • Your child may choose the same or different individuals to act as their Health Care Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney.
        • It is best for them to choose one individual to act on their behalf or give two individuals the power to act independently. This helps alleviate confusion or disagreements between two people about the choices they may need to make on the child’s behalf.
        • As your child ages and circumstances evolve, this can be updated.

Does My Child Need a Will?

      • Depending on the complexity of your child’s estate, it may be important to discuss a Last Will and Testament. Otherwise, their estate will be subject to probate laws in accordance with state law, which might not align with your child’s wishes.

Creating a proper estate plan requires time, thought, effort and the ability to design tools specific to your child’s needs. As your child grows older and their needs and desires change, they can update these tools to suit changing circumstances. State laws regarding estate planning differ significantly and change regularly. Talking to a Wealth Strategist or estate planning professional is always the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Download a PDF Copy


The views and opinions included in these materials belong to their author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewEdge Capital Group, LLC.

This information is general in nature and has been prepared solely for informational and educational purposes and does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or to adopt any specific investment strategy.

NewEdge and its affiliates do not render advice on legal, tax and/or tax accounting matters.  You should consult your personal tax and/or legal advisor to learn about any potential tax or other implications that may result from acting on a particular recommendation.

The trademarks and service marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners. Unless otherwise specifically indicated, all information with respect to any third party not affiliated with NewEdge has been provided by, and is the sole responsibility of, such third party and has not been independently verified by NewEdge, its affiliates or any other independent third party. No representation is given with respect to its accuracy or completeness, and such information and opinions may change without notice.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Any forward-looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions and actual results are expected to vary from any such statements or forecasts. No assurance can be given that investment objectives or target returns will be achieved. Future returns may be higher or lower than the estimates presented herein.

An investment cannot be made directly in an index. Indices are unmanaged and have no fees or expenses. You can obtain information about many indices online at a variety of sources including: or

All data is subject to change without notice.

© 2022 NewEdge Capital Group, LLC

Stay In Touch


* indicates required
Current NewEdge Wealth Client
What types of updates would you like to receive?

You may also like…

Planning During a Divorce

Planning During a Divorce

Beyond the emotional complexities, high-net worth divorce comes with its own unique set of challenges. Your NewEdge...