It’s graduation time again! Congratulations to the 89.9% of Missouri high school seniors who passed this significant milestone this year (1).
For parents too, congratulations are in order. I remember the excitement of anticipating their yet-to-be-determined future, of seeing the decisions our graduates made as they grew into independence. We all like to believe we still have some control over our 18-year-old “children.” Soon we discover that their lives quickly spin out of our orbit of control. We are relegated to the status of advisors and piggy banks. They are legally adults.
Legal? Yes, But With Reservations
At 18, colleges will no longer speak to us—or provide evidence of enrollment or grades. Insurance and health concerns become privacy issues. Depending upon where you live, questions of legality and constitutional rights become murky. 18-year-olds can marry, and vote, and (males only) must register for the draft at 18. They can purchase a gun, subject to individual state laws, yet only become legal age to drink at 21. The lingering questions surrounding brain development lead to the general consensus that judgment does not develop fully until 25 (2).
Through these years, parenting continues. We hope to remain key advisors to our children—teaching them how to collect tax forms and get them filed, how to buy a vehicle, explaining how insurance works—all the little pieces of knowledge we have accumulated. So many details to teach—wouldn’t the ‘Vulcan Mind Meld’ come in handy?
So just as you’re thinking about buying that showy car for graduation—or a new computer for college—or throwing that big (shhhhh, I won’t tell) graduation party—whatever way your family celebrates—let me suggest one more “gift” to give your senior as they graduate. Because you are the thoughtful parent that I know you are, take time to help your child to assemble their essential life documents.
In the interest of leading by example, do you have your legacy in order? If not, then start now. What if something happens to you tomorrow? One of the best gifts you can give your family or heirs is a road map that not only spells out your financial legacy but also gives insight into your values and history. They will feel your love for them through the things you leave behind and the care taken to endow these things with meaning.
About this time last year, I attended a memorial event for an older woman from our congregation who had died. She not only specifically listed the food she wanted for her memorial service, but also the intricate details of her life she wanted her family and friends to know. To top it off, she created a special quilt donated to the church to memorialize her ministry there. Such a thoughtful legacy for us all!
The basics include:
- A Durable Health Care Power of Attorney
- A Living Will or Health Care Directive
- A HIPAA privacy authorization
- A Durable Financial Power of Attorney
- A Will and/or a Trust
- Beneficiary Designations
If this sounds like Greek to you, call us today, and we’ll help you on the road to peace of mind.
Stay tuned for our next blog where we help you, step by step, assemble their essential life documents.
Deadline: Before they leave home, wherever they are going (college or work)…
Best. Graduation. Present. Ever.
#highschoolgraduation #graduation #parenting #adulting #personalfinance #finances