Uh-oh. You went to a parent-teacher conference for your 18-year-old senior in high school, or
contacted the community college professor to discuss issues your 17-year-old dual-enrolled student is having in class --
and discovered that as a parent you are no longer entitled to have this information. Your child is now an
adult, or is considered to be an adult covered by privacy laws. You need a power of attorney.
Surprise: in one tick of the clock, your child is now of the age of majority. At age 18, and even earlier for
certain other purposes, which may involve school issues, including federal laws such as the Federal Educational Rights
and Privacy Act (FERPA), health and medical issues, including psychological issues under state law as well as the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or military service, you and your child both may discover that
you have difficulty accessing information and assisting him or her as needed.
It's not fun to discover these truths when a matter is urgent, or the child is away at school or work and
cannot sign releases. Chances are, neither you nor your child has thought of this, and he or she is still depending on you.
If your child is about to enter college or the military, or turn 18, in this overly-complicated bureaucratic world we now live in,
it's time to consider a new adult right-of-passage for the new adult: legal documents. These may include
a simple will (which can be especially important if one of the parents has been out of the picture or has
been the child's primary support), a comprehensive health care surrogate (entitling the parents and/or others
of choice, such as older siblings, to have access to medical records and the right to make medical
decisions for the child if he or she is unable to do so), and a
durable power of attorney that may include, among other things, the right to
access school records, and information such as financial, employment, and tax records.
If you are the parent, your own estate planning may need to be brought
up-to-date, now that you have an adult child. Divorce-related child support or college support may become an issue.
If you are the new adult, you may be entitled to have access to trust funds
established by your parents or others, control over assets such as real estate, or have other new adult
liability and insurance issues need to be considered.
Being an adult brings a host of responsibilities. There will be enough challenges and
things to do in the near future. Relatively simple and inexpensive legal documents can prevent
hassles and make things easier going forward.
Happy Birthday! It's time to see the lawyer!
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.
Write, email or call: 954-979-8783
Elizabeth J. Kates, Esq.
4411 Northwest Tenth Street
Pompano Beach (Coconut Creek)
Florida Bar No. 309486
Broward County, Florida (17th Judicial Circuit): Coconut Creek - Cooper City - Coral Springs - Dania Beach - Davie - Deerfield Beach - Fort Lauderdale - Hallandale - Hillsboro Beach - Lauderdale-By-The-Sea - Lauderdale Lakes - Lazy Lake Village - Lighthouse Point - Margate- North Lauderdale - Oakland Park - Parkland - Pembroke Pines - Plantation - Pompano Beach - Sea Ranch Lakes - Southwest Ranches - Sunrise - Tamarac - Weston - Wilton Manors - - Miami-Dade County, Florida (11th Judicial Circuit): Aventura - Bal Harbour - Bay Harbor Islands - Biscayne Park - Coral Gables - Doral - El Portal - Florida City - Golden Beach - Hialeah - Hialeah Gardens - Homestead - Indian Creek Village - Islandia - Key Biscayne - Medley - Miami - Miami Beach - Miami Gardens - Miami Shores Village - Miami Springs - North Bay Village - North Miami - North Miami Beach - Opa-Locka - Pinecrest - South Miami - Sunny Isles Beach - Surfside - Sweetwater - Virginia Gardens - West Miami - Palm Beach County, Florida (15th Judicial Circuit): Atlantis - Belle Glade - Boca Raton - Boynton Beach - Briny Breezes - Cloud Lake - Delray Beach - Glen Ridge - Golf - Golfview - Greenacres - Gulf Stream - Haverhill - Highland Beach - Hypoluxo - Juno Beach - Jupiter - Jupiter Inlet Colony - Lake Clarke Shores - Lake Park - Lake Worth - Lantana - Manalapan - Mangonia Park - North Palm Beach - Ocean Ridge - Pahokee - Palm Beach - Palm Beach Gardens - Palm Beach Shores - Palm Springs - Riviera Beach - Royal Palm Beach - South Bay - South Palm Beach - Tequesta - Wellington - West Palm Beach
Before you decide, ask us for free written information about our qualifications and experience.