Essential Planning

Basic Protection for All Adults in California

From birth to 18, people in California are considered minors, dependent upon their parents (or court-appointed guardian) for decisions and management of their property and personal affairs. If children under 18 screw up, California Courts hold the parent(s)/guardian responsible, and look to them to fix it.

At 18, California rules change. Those over 18 are considered adults, responsible for their own decisions, agreements, property, and children.

Parents might be shocked to learn that they need a formal Power of Attorney to access information regarding their own adult children. To avoid this surprise, we encourage parents and young adults to learn about these Key Planning Documents:

  • Advanced Healthcare Directives: Choose someone to make healthcare decisions;
  • Power of Attorney for Management of Property and Personal Affairs: Choose someone to act for you;
  • A Simple Will: Choose someone to manage your things (digital assets are a big part of this today), and care for your own children (regardless of how many or how much you have);
  • Temporary Guardianship for Minor Children: Choose someone to care for your minor children (to avoid them falling into the hands of Child Protective Services).
Share these with the people you've chosen, so that they are ready and prepared to act if needed.