Your Rights As The Parent Of A Young Adult — What You Need To Know When A Medical Crisis Hits

Posted by Jacklyn Truppa | Mar 06, 2023 | 0 Comments


As a parent, you are accustomed to managing your children's legal and medical affairs as circumstances require. For example, a simple phone call authorizing care can do the trick if your child needs urgent medical attention while away from you. But what happens when those "children" turn 18, now adults in the eyes of the law, and need urgent medical attention far from home?

The simple fact is that the day your child turns 18, they become an adult and has the legal rights of an adult. This means you lose your prior held rights to make medical and financial decisions for your child unless your child executes legal documents giving you those rights back. Without the proper legal documents, accessing medical information and being informed about your adult child's medical condition can be difficult and, in some cases, impossible.

When sending kids off to college, it is crucial to consider the legal implications of an accident or medical emergency on your ability to stay informed and participate in essential decision-making for your young adult child. Medical professionals are responsible for following the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which ensures medical privacy protection for all adults. Once your child turns 18, they are (from a legal perspective) no more attached to you than a stranger; making communication about medical issues is tricky if your child is incapacitated and cannot grant permission independently.

In most states, these three legal documents can make all the difference when a medical crisis strikes and your young adult child is far from home. When utilized together, they can ensure a parent or trusted adult is kept in the loop about care and treatment when a child over 18 experiences a medical event while they are away at college, traveling, or living far from home. As with most legal documents, the law varies from state to state, so be sure to seek out the counsel with us, your Personal Family Lawyer® to determine which forms suit your situation best.


Essentially like a permission slip, this authorization allows your adult child to specify who can access their medical information. In addition, specific information can be specifically withheld, such as drug use, sexual activity, and mental health issues, so additional privacy can be protected if desired.

Medical Power Of Attorney

Designates an agent to make medical decisions for the young adult. This could be you, as the parent, or another trusted adult. Each state has different laws governing medical power of attorney, requiring various forms. Be sure to check with us, your Personal Family Lawyer® to be sure you are following the laws of your state and the state where your child resides.

Durable Financial Power Of Attorney

Allows the parent or another trusted adult to take care of personal business if the adult child cannot do so. This form would let the parent take care of essential tasks such as signing tax returns, paying bills, and accessing bank accounts for the incapacitated adult child. A durable power of attorney is powerful and gives broad access to sensitive financial and legal decision-making and should only be given to a trusted relative or friend.

The milestones come quickly once children graduate high school and enter the wide world away from home. As your family navigates these significant rites of passage, consult us as your Personal Family Lawyer® to determine the steps necessary to ensure excellent communication and peace of mind when a medical emergency arises. Consider including your young adult children in the process. We're here to help your family establish the legal and medical protections needed to live your desired lives. Contact us today to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session for your family and get the proper documents in place for your kids.

This article is by Jacklyn A. Truppa of Dyansty Law, LLC service. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you've ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge. 

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer firms, a source believed in providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you seek legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained separately from this educational material.

About the Author

Jacklyn Truppa

Hello! I am Jacklyn Truppa, the founder of Dynasty Law, LLC. I am so happy to share with you the steps that can help protect your family, to provide you peace of mind. First and foremost congratulations on taking such a courageous step and may...


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