Legal Advice for Parents with Kids in That ‘Awkward Stage’ of Semi-Adulthood

Your child is over 18 and legally an adult, but still your dependent. Say he’s away at school and is in a car crash. Would you have the right to talk with his doctors or deal with his bills? You need the proper paperwork in place to make sure of it.

A teenaged boy smiles.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

My son was so excited to begin his freshman year at college in Savannah in autumn 2019. But COVID-19 forced the school to close just after its spring break, and he’ll be attending classes over Zoom through this summer. We have really enjoyed having him home, but he will finally be able to return to campus this coming fall term for his junior year.

He became a legal adult even before he graduated high school. Since turning 18, he has enjoyed all the legal rights of an adult (save buying liquor) and all the legal liabilities and responsibilities, but he is still in that in-between period of semi-adulthood. He is financially dependent on us, since we are paying for his health and auto insurance and his college tuition and housing costs. The Affordable Care Act requires that my group health insurance plan cover him until age 26, and income tax rules allow me to claim him as a dependent through the year he attains age 24.

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Timothy Barrett, Trust Counsel
Senior Vice President, Argent Trust Company

Timothy Barrett is a Senior Vice President and Trust Counsel with Argent Trust Company. Timothy is a graduate of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, past Officer of the Metro Louisville Estate Planning Council and the Estate Planning Council of Southern Indiana, Member of the Louisville, Kentucky, and Indiana Bar Associations, and the University of Kentucky Estate Planning Institute Committee.