Turning 18 is a significant milestone – it’s the age when your child is considered a legal adult. With this new status come both freedoms and responsibilities – and yes, paperwork. We’ll walk you through essential documents that every 18-year-old should consider having so you can feel confident knowing your new adult has everything they need!

Identification and Legal Documents

1. Passport

Even if your child doesn’t have immediate travel plans, a passport is a solid form of identification that lasts for 10 years. It’s a valuable document to have for various purposes, including international travel, employment, and more.

2. Driver’s License or State ID

This serves not just for driving but also as a primary form of identification domestically. Having a driver’s license or state ID is essential for various day-to-day activities, such as opening a bank account or proving your age.

3. Social Security Card

Keep the original in a safe place. Your child will need this for various forms and applications, including employment, financial transactions, and government benefits.

4. Birth Certificate

Like the Social Security Card, it’s important to know where the original or certified copy is. The birth certificate is often required for legal matters, applying for government programs, and more.

Financial Documents

1. Bank Account Information

By 18, your child should consider having their own checking and/or savings account. This provides a sense of financial independence and a place to manage their money.

2. Credit Report

Your child should start monitoring their credit report annually. It’s free and critical for understanding their financial standing and maintaining a good credit score.

3. Tax Documents

As they start earning money, they’ll likely need to file taxes. They will need to keep their W-2s, 1099s, and tax returns organized and accessible. Understanding their tax obligations is essential as they enter the workforce.

4. Health Insurance Cards

If your child is covered under a health plan, they need to keep the insurance card with them. This is crucial for accessing healthcare services and benefits.

Healthcare Documents

1. Medical Records

Having a copy of your child’s immunization records and other medical history can be vital when they see a new doctor or travel. These records ensure that they receive appropriate medical care and vaccinations.

2. Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney

This is really important. These documents allow your child to specify their health care preferences and designate someone to make decisions for them if they are unable. It ensures that their medical wishes are respected in case of emergencies.

Personal Planning

1. Will

At 18, they can legally create a will. While it may seem premature, it’s the best way to ensure their wishes are followed regarding their possessions and assets. This is particularly important for those who want to protect their assets and distribute them as per their wishes.

2. Updating any beneficiary information

Ensure that beneficiary information for bank accounts, insurance policies, and retirement accounts is up to date. This ensures that the right people receive assets in the event of the account holder’s passing.

3. Emergency Contact List

This isn’t a legal document, but it is crucial. They should have a list of family or friends who can be contacted in an emergency. It ensures that loved ones can be reached in critical situations.

Being 18 is exciting – it’s the start of adulthood! With these documents in order, your child is not just being responsible; they are also taking significant steps to protect themselves and their future. So, celebrate the 18th birthday, but take some time to get these documents in order. It’s one of the best gifts your child can give their future self. Preparing these documents is a valuable way to kick start their journey into adulthood.

For informational purposes only. Not intended as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. Information prepared from third-party sources is believed to be reliable though its accuracy is not guaranteed. Opinions expressed in this commentary reflect subjective judgments of the author based on conditions at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. For more information about Wealth Dimensions, including our Form ADV Part 2A Brochure, please visit https://adviserinfo.sec.gov or contact us at 513-554-6000. Please be advised that this material is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this material is not intended and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.