Financial Planning Tips and Perspectives

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Legal Documents Every 18+ Year Old Needs

Young adults often aren’t aware of the importance of creating certain legal documents for themselves.  Without prior experience, they often fail to realize that their parents or other trusted adults are legally unable to help them after age 18, in critical medical and some other situations.

At the very least, people 18 or older should complete the following documents:

  • Advanced Health Care Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management
  • Simple Will

Why are these documents important?  See below.

Advanced Health Care Directive – People 18 years old or older are considered adults in the eyes of the law.  In a medical emergency, parents no longer have the right to make medical decisions for their adult children, or even access their medical records.  As a result, if your adult child wants you or others to be able to make important medical decisions on their behalf when they are unable to make decisions for themselves, an Advanced Health Care Directive is necessary.

Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management – If a person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated, this document can allow another person to facilitate the management of one’s financial affairs, and it can be set up to allow such powers only  when certain circumstances arise.  It can also help avoid the expense and hassle of court-supervised administration of guardianship proceedings (which deal with the incapacitated person) and conservatorship proceedings (which deal with the incapacitated person’s property).

Simple Will – Without a basic will, the state will determine who owns the deceased’s property and a judge may decide who will raise their children.

To prepare these and/or other legal documents, it is best to consult an attorney. However, if one’s needs are sufficiently simple and straight forward, fill-in-the-blanks forms on the web may be available to meet one’s needs.  In either case, it is advisable to review and update the documents periodically to ensure they reflect one’s evolving wishes.

 The Advisory Group of San Francisco, LLC is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice.  The information above is intended for general reference and is not a complete description of all legal factors or implications.  For legal guidance specific to your situation, please consult a qualified legal professional.

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