Estate planning for 18 year olds.

September 29, 2013                                                 Fort Collins, Colorado

Do single young adults need any estate planning?  If they do not have assets with a value over $65,000, they probably do not need a will or trust to dictate what happens to them upon death.  The transfer can be handled by an affidavit if their property is in Colorado.  What they do need are powers of attorney and possibly a living will.   

With the enactment of the federal health care privacy restrictions contained in HIPPA, health care providers cannot discuss an injured or even comatose young adult's medical situation with his parents or anyone else.  Therefore all adults, beginning at age 18 should have a medical power of attorney that specifically indicates that the signor releases his or her privacy rights under HIPPA as to disclosures made to the designated agents which are typically the parents.  The power of attorney will also usually designate the parents as the agents to make decisions for the young person if he or she is unable to do so.

At the same time the young person may want to give a general power of attorney to the parents to deal with financial matters such as bank accounts, credit cards, phone contracts and the like in the event of a period of disability.

A living will may also be signed.  A living will is the expression of the philosophy that if the the signor is unable to communicate, is severely impaired and never going to improve, that the he or she does not want heroic measures employed to prolong his or her life.  Of course, if the signor wants life prolonged as long as possible irrespective of the quality of life, the a living will should not be signed.

So, an 18 year old is well advised to have powers of attorney and possibly a living will prior to and after accumulating property.   

I look forward to helping you with these documents.

Posted on September 29, 2013 .