For parents and grandparents, children moving out into the world for the first time can be both a joyous and life-changing experience. Those first few steps into adulthood are a remarkable occasion for everyone.

However, most young people are not thinking about the potential of life-threatening emergencies. It is vital for parents to help their children understand the importance of legally documenting their wishes.

Organ donation

Choosing whether to donate organs in the event of death is often a young adult’s first brush with an advance directive. According to the Colorado State Division of Motor Vehicles, more than 69% of Colorado residents choose to donate organs when they apply for or renew their driver’s license.

Designating Medical/Health Care Power of Attorney

Young people can also appoint a durable power of attorney to legally make decisions on their behalf if they are incapable of making critical judgments in the moment.

Most children list their parents as an emergency contact on significant documentation. Parents are aware that something has happened to their child. However, unless the child has legally designated one or both parents as power of attorney, they may not be able to make vital, life-saving decisions in time. They are no longer the child’s legal guardians.

Creating a basic living will

Creating a living will is more than merely designating a person to be a power of attorney. The Colorado Bar Association states that a living will informs medical professionals of a terminally incapacitated individual’s wishes regarding administering, withholding or withdrawing life support. A power of attorney will make decisions based on this directive.