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Legal Considerations After Your 18th Birthday

legal considerations after your 18th birthday by davis law group pc in chesapeake, virginia

Legal Considerations After Your 18th Birthday

March 17, 2023 Davis Law Group

Congratulations! You are now considered a legal adult.

Although you still can’t purchase alcohol, there are very few other things you cannot legally do at this point. Although you may not feel any different or more “adult,” from a legal standpoint, a lot of things have changed.

When you were a minor, your parents or legal guardians were responsible for making all of your decisions for you. Now that you are an adult, their legal authority is very limited and in some cases, completely gone. This freedom may seem exciting, and it is, but there are a few things you should consider as you pass this milestone that will keep you protected if certain situations arise.

  • Access to medical information. As a legal adult, you are protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This means that your private medical information can only be disclosed to those individuals you have authorized. If you want your parents to continue having access to this information, you will need to have a HIPAA Authorization Form prepared appointing your parents, or anyone else you designate, as an Authorized Recipient.
  • Medical decisions. Chances are, if something were to happen to you rendering you unable to make decisions, it would be your parents that you would rely on to make decisions about your medical treatment. As a minor, your parents automatically had that authority, but now that you are an adult, you must formally grant them this authority. This can be accomplished through the preparation of a Health Care (or Medical) Power of Attorney. Not only can you name someone to act on your behalf (an agent), but you can also provide some general guidelines regarding your healthcare wishes.
  • Financial decisions. If you are planning on going away to college or spending any significant time away from home, having a Durable Financial Power of Attorney in place may be helpful to you. Up until now, if you needed a parent to make a withdrawal from a bank account, or sign something on your behalf, there was no need for any additional steps because they were your legal guardians. However, now, if you want them to continue providing the same services, you will have to grant them this authority through the Financial Power of Attorney.
  • Managing assets in case of your death. You just turned 18, not 98, but now is a good time to begin some responsible habits and consider what will happen to your assets when you pass away, since no one knows when this will happen. You may think that you do not have any assets, but you actually do. In this digital age, each one of your social media accounts is considered an asset. What will happen to these accounts when you pass away? You also have tangible personal property, which might have more sentimental than financial value. The execution of a simple will or trust will allow you to dispose of your assets to whom you want in the manner you want, no matter their monetary value.


Davis Law Group Can Help

You’re an adult now, and it’s time to start thinking like one. Make one of your first adult decisions to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that you are protected as you are now your own responsibility. Davis Law Group can help you and your family navigate this next chapter in your life so that you continue to be protected and your wishes are honored in the future. Contact us today to set up a virtual or in-person meeting.