For most of us, it would be receiving that phone call telling us that our child is having a medical emergency. It might be a car accident, or some other health crisis, but as soon as we are notified we want to rush into action to help them. No matter how old they are, they will always be our child, even if they are now an adult.
It used to be that when a child turned 21, he would receive a key to the front-door of the family home, in a rite-of-passage symbolising and acknowledging their transition from child to adult.
With the faster pace of life, and changing societal expectations, the legal age-of-majority is now18.
Did you know that if your children are aged 18 or older, even if they are still living at home with you, then you are no longer able to make their medical decisions for them? In fact, you have no right to speak with their doctor or nurses or see their medical records.
Once your children reach the age of 18, they have attained their majority under Australian law. This means they are adults in their own right, and your role as legal guardian ceases unless additional steps are taken. They could execute a document known as an Enduring Power-of-Guardianship, appointing you as their guardian in the event that they were to lose their ability to care for themselves & make decisions in their own best interests.
In order for you to continue to have a say in their medical treatment, they would need to name you as their Medical Power-of-Attorney (sometimes known as a medical agent or health-care proxy). This is a document that allows any competent adult to name another person to make medical decisions for him/her.
Similarly once your children turn 18, you do not have the right to access their academic records, even if you are paying the tuition fees! You also may be restricted from dealing with their bank, insurers, employers and government departments. To correct this, and to allow you to be able to handle any other legal or financial matter for them, your child would need to execute an Enduring Power-of-Attorney.
Why not acknowledge & celebrate your child’s adulthood by setting them up with an ESTATE PLANNER integrated estate plan in Adelaide. It contains all of these essential documents as well as a Legal Will and important information to help them protect themselves as they start out in adult life.
Peace-of-mind is a wonderful gift which you can give to your entire family.
Rod Genders is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in estate planning and accident compensation. His boutique specialist law firm is one of the oldest and most respected in Australia – visit it at www.genders.com.au . Rod is also a prolific author and speaker. Some of his articles and books on Wills, Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Retirement Planning may be found at www.genders.com.au/adelaide-lawyer-blog
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