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Four Legal Forms to Consider When Your Child Turns 18

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  • | 3:46 p.m. April 3, 2023
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When a child reaches the age of 18, a parent’s access to the adult child’s financial, medical, and academic records and information is usually cut off. There are four forms an adult child can consider executing, depending on the circumstances, and such forms should be executed as soon as possible. If an adult child suffers from an injury, illness, or incapacity without such forms in place, it can be challenging and costly to appoint agents or fiduciaries.

Durable Power of Attorney

  • A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) designates an agent to handle an individual’s financial affairs if the individual is incapacitated or unable to manage his or her own affairs effectively.
  • Under Florida law, a DPOA is effective immediately upon execution and remains in effect until the individual’s death or until the DPOA has been properly revoked.
  • An adult child can designate a parent to manage his or her finances, such as paying for tuition, fees, room and board, car payments, or taxes.

Health Care Advance Directive

  • A Health Care Advance Directive (HCAD) allows an individual to designate an agent to make health care decisions for the individual if he or she is incapacitated. An individual can also give consent to organ donation. 
  • A HCAD can include a Living Will. A Living Will states the individual’s wishes with respect to the use of lifeprolonging procedures in the event of a terminal illness, an end-stage condition, or a persistent vegetative state.
  • A HIPAA waiver can also be included in the HCAD.
  • An adult child can designate his or her parent to make health care decisions on the adult child’s behalf if he or she becomes incapacitated due to serious injuries or illness.

HIPAA Waiver

  • After an adult child reaches the age of majority, his or her medical records and personal health information are protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • A HIPPAA waiver allows an individual’s health care information to be used by or disclosed to a third party.
  • There are many different versions of HIPAA waivers. An adult child can execute a general HIPAA waiver or one that is specific to a medical provider or educational institution.
  • An adult child can grant his or her parent access to medical records and personal health information by executing a HIPAA waiver.

FERPA Waiver

  • FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and is in place to protect a student’s privacy and access to academic records.
  • A FERPA waiver allows an individual’s academic records to be released to a third party.
  • There are many different versions of FERPA waivers. An adult child should check with the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled.
  • An adult child can grant his or her parent access to academic records by executing a FERPA waiver. This is not intended to provide legal advice. 

This information is not an invitation for an attorney-client relationship. You should seek legal counsel for any questions you may have.

Alisa M. Heedy can be reached at aheedy@ or 941-552-2569 Jeffrey D. Mytinger can be reached at [email protected] or 941-536-2039


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