Three Legal Documents Your Child Should Sign When They Turn 18

Legal documents such as durable power of attorney, a healthcare proxy and a HIPAA release can give parents the legal right to make decisions if their child needs help.

As they're loading an SUV with boxes, a mom hugs her teen daughter, who's holding a box labeled "dorm room."
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The moment a person turns the age of 18, they are suddenly considered (in most states) an adult in the eyes of the law. Many parents don’t realize this, and many teenagers don’t fully understand the responsibility. For the first 18 years of your child’s life, you, as their parent, had full legal rights to make decisions on their behalf. That all changes the day your child turns 18. They can now legally rent an apartment, take charge of their finances and buy a car — all without a parent’s consent or assistance.

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Allen J. Falke, CPA, Esq., LL.M.
Of Counsel, Mirick O'Connell

Attorney Allen Falke is the practice group leader of Mirick O’Connell’s Trusts and Estates group and a member of the firm’s Business group. He focuses his practice on tax law and estate and business planning. Allen provides estate planning for high-net-worth individuals and succession planning for business clients. He advises clients on tax matters related to business acquisitions and restructuring, and business formations and combinations. He reviews and advises clients on estate, gift, individual, corporate, partnership and fiduciary tax compliance matters. He also has extensive experience representing clients on audits with taxing authorities.