Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 30, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 9


Mountain View News Saturday, November 30, 2019



Although I haven’t experienced it yet, I’ve seen clients, friends, and family watch their 
kids leave home to attend college or start their career. It can be an emotional time as a 
parent. On one hand, moving out on their own is a major accomplishment that makes 
parents proud. On the other hand, having your kids leave the nest and face the world 
can also induce anxiety and fear.

And it is critical to know that once they reach age 18, your kids become legal adults, 
and many areas of their lives that were once under your control will be solely their 
responsibility. Make sure they know that one of the very first items on their to-do list 
as new adults should be estate planning.

While you may believe that planning is the last thing your kids need to be thinking about, it’s actually the first, 
because once they turn 18, you no longer have automatic access to their medical records and/or financial accounts 
should anything happen to them. 
Before your kids head out on their own, you should discuss and have them sign the following three documents: 

1. Medical Power of Attorney

Medical power of attorney is an advance directive that allows your child to grant you (or someone else) the legal authority to 
make healthcare decisions for them in the event they become incapacitated and cannot make such decisions for themselves. 
For example, a medical power of attorney would allow you to make decisions about your child’s medical treatment if 
he or she is knocked unconscious in a car accident or falls into a coma due to an illness. And with a properly drafted 
medical power of attorney, you will be able to access your child’s medical records, whereas without one you would 

Should they become incapacitated without a properly executed medical power of attorney, you’d have to petition 
the court to become their legal guardian. While a parent is typically the court’s first choice for guardian, the court 
process can be slow (not to mention expensive)—and in medical emergencies, every second counts.

2. Living Will

Whereas medical power of attorney allows you to make healthcare decisions on your child’s behalf during their 
incapacity, a living will provides specific guidance about how your child’s medical decisions should be made while 
they’re incapacitated, particularly at the end of life. 
For example, a living will allows your child to let you know if and when they want life support removed, if they 
ever require it. In addition to documenting how your child wants their medical care handled, a living will can 
also include instructions about who should be able to visit them in the hospital and even what kind of food they 
should be fed. 

If your child has certain wishes for their medical care, it’s important you discuss these decisions with them and 
have those wishes documented in a living will to ensure they’re properly carried out.

3. Durable Financial Power of Attorney

Should your child become incapacitated, you’ll also need the ability to access and manage their finances, and this 
requires your child to grant you durable financial power of attorney.
Durable financial power of attorney gives you the immediate legal authority to manage their financial and legal 
matters, such as paying bills, applying for Social Security benefits, and/or managing banking and other financial 
accounts. Without this document, you’ll have to petition the court for such authority.

Start adulthood off right
As parents, it’s natural to experience anxiety when your kid leaves home. But with the support of a trusted 
attorney, you’ll at least have peace of mind knowing that he or she will be well taken care of in the event of an 
unforeseen accident or illness. Contact us today to discuss our Young Adult Estate Planning Package to ensure 
that if your child ever does need your help, you’ll have the legal authority to provide it.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission to help parents protect what 
they love most. His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. 
Schedule an

appointment to sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love and financial 
security for your family by calling 626.355.4000 or visit for more 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: