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Your child is turning 18: Are You Ready? 

Every parent views their son or daughter as a child even when they have become an adult (legally, that age is 18 years old). However, this time can be a nightmare for parents both legally and emotionally as their child gets closer to this age. Some children view their 18th birthday as freedom from all their parent's rules and restrictions.

Most parents worry that they will no longer have control over what happens to their son or daughter after they have reached the age of 18. That their children will truly be able to do whatever they want. Is this true? The answer: Yes, and No (Mostly No).

In North Carolina, the age of majority (when an individual is no longer a minor but is considered an adult) is 18. This means legally, all the responsibilities you had as a parent, now fall to your son or daughter.

For example:

  • Your child can now vote and also be selected for jury duty.
  • Your son must register for Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday or face a penalty or worse, even jail time.
  • They may not be able to rent a car but they can now buy one.
  • Buy or sell investments (stocks, bonds, etc..).
  • Buy or sell real estate.
  • Can get married.
  • Can drink in some places.
  • Purchase and smoke cigarettes.
  • Able to be sued.
  • Gamble
  • Inherit property (imagine an 18-year-old with a $1 million of inheritance - believe me, this has happened!).
  • Enter into binding contracts.
  • Doing stupid stunts and pranks like they did when they were younger can now land them in jail! REMEMBER: What is permissible in one state may mean jail time in another. That's why it is important that both your child and yourself fully understand the legal consequences that their decisions, actions or who they choose to associate with can cause them. (i.e. dating someone younger than they are, drug offenses once consider minor may equal jail time now, driving while on the phone or texting, sexting, a friend stealing regardless if you had knowledge or not if they are with them at the time, etc.)
  • Responsible for their finances including filing and paying any taxes owed.
  • And so much more...

Being an adult also means that you, as a parent, according to the law are no longer their representative. Meaning, you no longer have authority regarding their healthcare, education or their financial well-being. Want to ask Sally about her grades? Or about her health? Or whether she is being treated for a medical condition? Or want to call about her health insurance? This is a big NO according to HIPPA regulations.

So as a parent, you're probably asking "What are my options?", "Can I do anything about this?" The answer is YES. There are options available to you as a parent however they do require your child's authorization (signature) to do it. There are three documents that they need to sign in order for you to be able to assist them when its needed: HIPPA Healthcare Release, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and lastly, Financial Power of Attorney. Banks will not discuss financial records if they have a private account.

I know you're asking "How do I get them to do this?" It may be hard, however you may have leverage, especially if you are the one still paying for their car, their college education or they are still living at home and you're paying all their bills.

Want to know more about the changes that come with your child turning 18, or what you as a parent can do about it? Our staff is experienced in handling these issues and want you to know that you are not alone!

The first step in learning more is to contact our office for a consultation. Our team will explain step-by-step what your options are and how you can help your children. Because the last thing you want is to be standing in a hospital or a court room with no immediate way to help them.

Contact our office and ask about our "Back-to-School" package!

ACT NOW: Without the proper documentation in place, you and your family are left completely unprotected. Call our office at 919-647-9599 to schedule a consultation. We are here to protect your family and all that you love.

If you are seeking a law firm which is client-centric, which will listen first, and which seeks to create a relationship with you and your loved ones that will last over the course of your life, we invite you to contact us.

Don't forget to share us with your friends and family!!



About the Law Firm

The Walls Law Firm is a wealth preservation firm that focuses on its practice in the areas of estate and asset protection planning, business and succession planning, and probate and trust administration. Jason Walls has been recognized by Business North Carolina Magazine as "2016 Estate Planning Lawyer of the Year" recognizing the top estate and tax attorneys in North Carolina.