There are few more exciting times in a young person's life than when claiming that high school diploma and getting ready for the next chapter For many, that time includes leaving home to attend school on the Mainland or another island, joining the armed forces, or entering the workforce.
Wherever your dreams (or those of your young adult) will lead, there is a lot of planning to do--from making travel arrangements, finding a place to live, choosing classes and even picking out the right wardrobe. But one area of planning that is often overlooked is basic estate planning.
Remember that time when you fell off your skateboard, needed medical care, and your parents were there to make decisions for you? However, once you turned 18, those decisions fell on you. Your parents lost the legal authority to make decisions for you--unless you have given them specific written permission to do so. It's important to have a protocol in place, so that if you can't speak for yourself, your handpicked decision-maker can do it for you.
Est8 Planning Counsel LLLC
Scott A. Makuakane and Roya J. Deyhim · Estate Planning Attorneys
Different states have different rules when it comes to delegating authority to another person to make healthcare decisions. Most states, such as Hawai'i, recognize Advance Health-Care Directives that set out in writing who can make what kinds of decisions for you, and in what circumstances. If you are able to speak for yourself, your doctors will listen to you. If you cannot speak for yourself, who would be the best person to speak for you? It may be a parent, a sibling, an auntie, an uncle or a grandparent. Preferably, it is someone who is nearby and can speak with your doctors personally.
In addition to your advance directive, it is also important to give your medical care providers permission to talk with your healthcare agent. If you don't do this, both federal and state privacy laws could prevent your doctor from talking with your loved ones about your care. This permission slip, sometimes called an HIPAA Authorization, named after the federal law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), makes it a serious offense for anyone to leak private health information.
Two other basic documents that a young adult should have in place are a simple will and a durable power of attorney. In the best of all worlds, these documents (like the advance directive and HIPAA Authorization) will not be needed anytime soon. However, they can make a tremendous difference to the young person and his or her loved ones if they are needed.
Make sure that you (or the precious young adults in your life) take time to put these documents in place before heading out.
Scott A. Makuakane and Roya J. Deyhim are estate planning attorneys with the law firm of Est8Planning Counsel LLLC. Contact Est8Planning Counsel LLLC at 891-8881 or www.est8planning.com.