What to Know When Your Child Turns 18

What to Know When Your Child Turns 18

May 01, 2024

As your child approaches 18, they may gain new freedoms as a legal adult in most states. However, many young adults (and their parents) are surprised to learn the responsibilities they will assume independently, including managing their healthcare, academics, and finances. As such, it's important to understand what changes happen when your child hits this milestone birthday.

Here are three areas to consider discussing with your child:


  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the privacy law that prevents healthcare providers from disclosing your child’s current medical condition or medical records with you.
  • If you and your child decide to share healthcare decisions, they can sign a HIPAA authorization document, which you can keep on file.
  • If there are certain areas you don’t wish to be a part of, this authorization document can be limited in scope or exclude specific topics.
  • A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a healthcare proxy, allows you to make important healthcare decisions on behalf of an adult child who may be physically or mentally unable to decide independently.


  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that students over the age of 18 give written consent before their school will release any educational records.
  • This includes GPA, credits, scholarship status, disciplinary action, tuition information, and records maintained by the campus health clinic.
  • A FERPA authorization will allow you access to these records.


  • A financial power of attorney allows you to make financial decisions for your child and access their financial records and accounts.
  • With this document, you can help your child with their financial affairs, pay student loan bills, cover car payments, check bank balances, and pay taxes.
  • Exercising this authority may help your child make more informed financial decisions.

Turning 18 is a milestone, and your child may still be open to your wisdom and support. Having an open discussion may be beneficial.

As financial professionals, we’re happy to discuss strategies for addressing major life milestones. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you’d like to discuss this topic or anything else that’s on your mind.

1. RaisingTeensToday.com, September 30, 2023
2. Investopedia, June 22, 2022

This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm.