Skip to main content

Graduation Presents

Updated May 12, 2019

Heather Gessner

SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist

College and high school graduates have, or soon will be, walking across the stage and shaking hands President and receiving their diplomas. This act officially moves them on to the next stage of their lives.

This stage will likely include celebrating their 18th birthday, moving out of their parents’ home and either entering the workforce or continuing their education. While they are becoming adults, many still rely on their parents for health and medical advice and healthcare insurance.

One of those events is a bigger issue than many may consider. Turning 18 means they are fully and legally an adult. That single event means healthcare providers cannot talk to anyone about their wellbeing to anyone due to privacy laws.

Graduation Gift Ideas

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

The durable power of attorney for health care allows for the naming of someone else to make health-care decisions about, and for, the individual when they are not able to communicate. Usually referred to as an “agent”, “representative” or “proxy”, this person can be anyone of legal age. Traditionally this would be a parent, spouse, or other trusted individual.

The durable power of attorney for health care is only enacted when the individual cannot communicate their own healthcare wishes, and does not deal with any other aspects. This document is for medical decisions only.

The durable power of attorney for health care should also include HIPAA authorization. This authorization allows healthcare providers to share information with the selected agent.

Living Will (or advanced directive)

A Living Will (or advanced directive) may be a separate document or may be written in the health care power of attorney. This is a document which states in advance which types of procedures we do not want to be completed if death is imminent. For example, it will state that I do not want life support given if death is imminent. If this document is signed, it takes away the power of attorney’s ability to make that choice on whether to put me on life support because that choice was made in advance.

Power of Attorney

Health related incapacitation may also require that decisions related to finances need to be addressed as well. The power of attorney is commonly used for financial situations as it provides someone with the authority to act on behalf of another. Again, the individual given this authority is commonly referred to as the attorney-in-fact. Springing durable power of attorney allows the individual to remain in control of their finances until a triggering event causes the “springing” of the document into action and thus giving the attorney-in-fact the authority to make financial decisions on the others behalf.

Last Will and Testament

Probably the last thing parents want to think about as their children graduate is the need for a will. This important document will allow you to honor your child’s wishes related to bank accounts, any personal assets and their social media accounts.

In Summary

While graduation may be over, there still is time to give these gifts. Contact your attorney to make this important appointment. Hopefully you will never need to use the paperwork, but being prepared for a worst case scenario will help avoid many issues and problems.

The information provided in this article is not provided, nor is it intended to be legal advice. Consult an attorney with specific questions regarding the drafting and utilization of these documents.