Adult Children – Dealing with Ilness and Death
I have written about this before but due to a tragic incident over Labor Day Weekend when a dear friend found her adult son dead in her home, I feel moved to address it again.
All newbie adults as well as any other adults that are single should be aware that they have responsibility for their health and financial records. Parents cannot get access to them without permission. Therefore, it is a good idea to have adult children sign a health care designation or health proxy in case there is an acute situation. This is also true with a financial power of attorney. If an adult child gets into a wreck and has brain damage, without a power of attorney the parent has no right to sigh up for benefits for him.
HIPAA is the acronym for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996. HIPAA requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. Many health providers will request a person to sign a written authorization before they disclose protected health information. This is sometimes called a HIPAA release, HIPAA waiver, or a release of information authorization. This is what a parent should have for their single adult children.
And if you are the durable power of attorney for healthcare for your child and if you are currently authorized to act, you have the right to request and obtain information. If your adult child is older and financially independent, a durable financial power of attorney will allow you to manage their finances if they become incapacitate and unable to make those decisions for themselves.
Now, having said all this, it is time for me (again) to have a discussion with my single adult son.