If you have adult children, especially young adult children, the topic of estate planning likely does not come up in casual conversation. After all, twenty-somethings should have a long life ahead of themselves. Thinking about Wills and other morbid things is for “old people”. I probably thought that way when I was younger, but having lost a parent at a very early age, I know that death happens at all ages. So does incapacity.
We might even be worried about having types of conversations for fear that it might scar our children in some way. I don’t think that we give our children, even young ones, enough credit. Case in point: a short time ago, I was talking with my children about Wills. They have been to my office many times, but I did not think that they really understood what I did. Because they are ages 10 and 8, I tried to keep the conversation age appropriate. To my surprise, my younger daughter asked if I could write her Will! She wanted to be sure that her treasured stuffed animals passed to her sister when she died. While it won’t carry any legal weight, I am inclined to write that document. Sounds like a learning experience (for both of us)!
In Florida and in most states, when your child becomes an adult, he or she is no longer legally under your control. Therefore, if your child gets hurt, you may have a hard time accessing his or her bank account or talking with his or her medical providers. As simple as it may be, when your child reaches age 18, a great birthday present is to help him or her get a power of attorney and medical directives. As his or her life progresses, perhaps with marriage and children, those documents will likely change. Starting the conversation early in life will help to equip your children with the knowledge and strength to make decisions about their money and health care…and yours.