Estate Planning as a Rite of Passage

Why Every 18-year-old “Kid” Should Have An Estate Plan

We are fairly certain the last thing your 18-year-old kid is thinking about is an estate plan.  And you are probably not thinking about one for them either, but you should be.  Here’s why:  once your child turns 18, in Colorado they have reached the age of majority.

What exactly does this mean?   Individuals that are age 18 or older are treated as adults, with some exceptions, such as drinking alcoholic beverages, renting cars, and purchasing a hotel room. (More about acts allowed in Colorado upon age of majority).When an individual reaches the age of majority his or her parents are no longer liable for their child’s actions.   And transversely,  as parents you can no longer legally make many decisions for them, including decision about their medical treatment or even being entitled to know about their medical records.

Can you imagine your child needing medical treatment in some college town and you are not able to help in any way without a court saying you can?  It can, and does, happen.

What you need to do is have your adult child fill out a Medical Power of Attorney (also known as a health care proxy) with a HIPAA release (HIPAA refers to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, the law that makes health records private for those over the age of 18).  On the form, your child can designate you as their agent, allowing you to have access to medical records and to make health care decisions for them in case they cannot do so themselves.  Your child can also execute a Declaration of Medical and Surgical Treatment (also known as a living will) that specifies their preferences surrounding life support, pain management and other medical treatment preferences.

While you’re at it, have your child complete a financial Durable Power of Attorney  as well, which will give you the right to oversee their finances.  This document can be drafted to be effective upon signing or only in case of your child’s incapacity.

Hopefully you will never need to use these three documents, but having these necessary protections in place will give you both peace of mind.

Be one of the first two families to mention this post  and I’ll create these three legal documents for your child before going off to college as my gift to you plus waive the regular Family Wealth Planning Session fee (a $750 value).   Call today:  720-248-7621.

Additionally, share this great guide, So You’re 18 Now – A Survival Guide for Young Adults, put together by the Colorado Bar Association with your child.

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever? The Kids Protection Planning Kit

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever?  The Kids Protection Planning Kit®

By now, the flood of floral commercials has already reminded us that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12.  But before you plunk down hard earned cash on something that will wilt and die in a week or so, consider a gift that is truly priceless: a plan for your kids (or grandkids) that provides Mom with the peace of mind that if anything should happen to her (or both of you), her children will always be in the care of  people she knows, loves and trusts.

We all hate to think that something could happen to us, but we know it happens to others like us every day.

We’ve all seen the news stories of moms and dads who leave their children with a babysitter, get into a terrible accident and don’t make it home.

The babysitter calls and calls, but there is no one to answer. The police are summoned and the children have to be placed with Child Protective Services. It’s one of a parent’s worst fears.

We’ve seen the stories of children placed in the care of people they barely know just because they are related by blood since there was no plan in place that dictated who would take on this incredible responsibility.

And we have seen the fall out of family fights created when mom and dad didn’t make a plan and the family couldn’t agree on what would happen.  Or in the worst case, what happens when there is no family available.

In all of these cases, it’s left up to a judge to decide when mom and dad don’t.

We know you don’t want this for your children (or grandchildren, nieces or nephews).  And this is where a Kids Protection Plan® can ensure it never does. Not for your kids.

Developed by nationally recognized attorney Alexis Neely, who is a mom herself, the Kids Protection Plan® provides Moms (and Dads) with the legal planning tools you need to make sure there is never a question about who will take care of your kids if you are in an accident.  The plan includes:

  • Legal documents to name short-term guardians who can be there immediately for your children so they’ll never be taken into the arms of strangers or anyone you wouldn’t want. Not even for a moment.
  • Letters to the people you name as short-term guardians so the people you’ve named will know just what to do if called upon.
  • Instructions to everyone who takes care of your kids as to exactly what to do if you are in an accident … so there’s never any question about who to call.
  • Legal documents to name long-term guardians who will raise your children just as you would so there is no family feuding over your children.
  • Letters to your long-term guardians letting them know what to do if called upon.
  • Instructions and guidelines for your long-term guardians on how you want your kids to be raised…make sure your kids are raised with your values, insights, stories and experience.
  • Delegations of Power and/or Medical powers of attorney for your minor children so the next time they travel without you or you travel without them, you know they’ll get the medical care they need.
  • A custom, personalized I.D. card for your wallet stating that you have minor children at home and who should be contacted if you are in an accident.

As a Personal Family Lawyer®, I am one of a small group of lawyers licensed to prepare a Kids Protection Plan® for your family and if you do not have one in place already for your children (or know a mom who doesn’t), this Mother’s Day is the perfect time to gift this plan to your family.

We include a Kids Protection Plan® with all the planning we do for the lucky families with children at home who plan with our office.  This month, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’ll be preparing stand-alone Kids Protection Plans for families who need them if you are one of the first five families to get on our calendar.  Mention this post when you call 720-248-7621 to schedule your appointment.

PS – The nationally-recognized attorney who created the Kids Protection Plan® is appearing on the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Mom’s Summit, you may enjoy listening in. Here’s the link: www.personalfamilylawyer.com/momsconf