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With One Tick of a Clock Your Child Becomes a Legal Adult


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With One Tick of a Clock Your Child Becomes a Legal Adult

Debbie Baker

For all the milestones which parents give attention – birth, first step,  learner’s permit, driver’s license - there is one about which most parents miss the importance – the tick of the clock that sees our child go from ‘child’ to ‘legal adult’ in the eyes of the law.

 Until a child’s 18th birthday, we can make find out about our children’s grades in school, we can know about their medical situation, we can make financial decisions and handle emergencies that may arise because we hold the legal card of them being a ‘minor’.

NO LONGER THE CASE beginning at one second after midnight of the day they turn 18.

What happens NOW? – when this person is now an adult in the eyes of the law and needs medical attention – at home or, worse, far away and in an emergency.

Whether an 18 year old goes to college or into the work place, moves out or stays at home, it’s important to consider the legal implications a financial situation, accident or medical emergency might have on your ability to participate in important decision making for your child.

Once your child turns 18, that child, from a legal perspective, is no more attached to you than a stranger, making communication anything, including  medical issues tricky if your child is incapacitated and not able to grant permission on their own.

In Florida, there are three legal documents which can make all the difference.

HIPPA Waiver - Essentially like the permission slip you had before their 18th birthday to, have access to their personal medical information.

Living Will-Designated Health Care Surrogate - Designates a parent or other trusted adult to make medical decisions for the young adult.  If your child lives out of state, be sure the forms follow the laws of Florida as well as the laws of the state in which your child lives.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) - Allows the parent or another trusted adult to take care of personal business in the event the adult child is unable to do so. This form would allow the parent to take care of such important tasks such as signing tax returns, paying bills, and accessing bank accounts for the incapacitated adult child.

Milestones come quickly.  Don’t let this one pass without vigilance for your new ‘adult’ child’s protection.  We’re here to help your family establish the legal and medical protections the whole family needs to live the lives you desire.


This article is a service of London Baker Law, Debbie London Baker, Esq. Here for Your Family Today; Here for Your Loved Ones Tomorrow. We are not a one-and-done law firm.  We want to be like you having a lawyer in the family.  We work to be sure that you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That's why we offer a Family Legacy Planning Session from which you’ll be more financially organized than you’ve ever been before enabling you to make all the best choices for the people you love. Begin by calling our office today at 813-586-1332 (1DEB) to schedule your Family Legacy Planning Session. Mention where you got this article to find out how to get your Family Legacy Planning Session – a $750 value - at no charge.