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Graduating to Adulthood: Legal Concerns for Young Adults

Congratulations to all who celebrated graduations last month! As young people grow into adulthood, they inherit responsibility for a whole host of issues for which their parents were previously on the hook. Even a very young adult with little in the way of assets or life complications has legal issues for which they may need assistance. What are some of the legal concerns that a young adult may encounter as they go out into the world? Leases and Rental Issues: With any housing rental, a new renter will likely be asked to sign a lease. Before entering this contractual relationship, time should be taken to ensure that the lease complies with local city and county rental codes and provides adequate legal remedies and protections for the renter. Landlords can become bullies to young renters and illegally deny them rights that are provided for them by law even if they are not stated in the lease. The savvy renter gets familiar with local landlord tenant law and develops a clear voice of self-advocacy. To avoid trouble, seek legal review and counsel up front and don’t hesitate to ask for help if things get tough. Loans and Promissory Notes: Young adults may find themselves needing to borrow money to get a start in life whether for educational costs, living expenses, or housing. Any loan document – whether originating with a financial institution or a family member – is a legal contract and needs to safely reflect the rights and obligations of each party. Especially when lending money between family members and friends, ensure that a DIY promissory note is well written so that the relationship is preserved with a sound legal framework that is practical for private individuals to carry out. Wills and Advance Directives: Very few adults starting out in life possess more than a few dollars and some personal property to their name. But those precious few things do have value and should be directed toward the people who will find them most meaningful in the event of untimely death. A simple will with a personal property gift addendum is a very adequate way for a young adult to direct how their estate should be disbursed after death. Young adults are also just as likely – if not more so depending on their propensity for risk-taking – to need advance directives related to health care and power of attorney for general and financial purposes in the event of temporary or permanent disability. For most young adults with no children, no spouse, and little to no legal and financial ties, these documents can be created from simple forms as long as they are executed and stored properly. It is a great exercise in considering the weight of adult life for a young person to make these preparations and often initiates meaningful conversations with older parents and grandparents about their own preparations. Parents are usually experienced and sound advisors for their grown children, having entered into a multitude of these contracts themselves over the years. When a leasing or loan issue feels a bit too complicated, don’t hesitate to reach out to the law firm for help. For families that want to gift or encourage their adult children to hire an attorney for will and advance directive preparation, the law firm offers special pricing that takes into account the simple nature of a young adult’s legal needs while allowing them the experience of considering end-of-life and disability care decisions that are part of stepping out into the real world as a adult person. Call or email Claudia if you or your young adult family member wants more information about this process.

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