Turning 18 in Oklahoma: The legal issues for parents to consider

Part of a young woman or young man’s journey into adulthood is turning 18, becoming legal so to speak. 

A young adult inherits many new rights and also corresponding obligations, including the right to vote, enter the military, play the lottery, and get married.  Conversely, newly-minted 18-year-old males must register with the Selective Service System and be called to serve on a jury. 

The change in legal status brought on by turning 18 also means that parents should consider getting several legal documents in place that will allow them to continue to care for their children:

Healthcare Power of Attorney
When your child turns 18, you as parents don’t necessarily have the right to make all healthcare decisions for the child.  Reaching the age of majority means your child has an accident and is incapacitated or temporarily disabled; unless you have an Oklahoma power of attorney, you might have to seek guardianship from the court.  Under an Oklahoma power of attorney, your child is authorizing you to act for them if they are incapacitated and there are medical decisions to make.  This type of power of attorney may be made effective immediately as an alternative to becoming effective when your child becomes incapacitated.

Financial Power of Attorney
Similar to the Healthcare Power of Attorney, the Oklahoma Financial Power of Attorney allows your child to appoint to make financial decisions, access bank accounts, pay bills, and the like for them.  This power of attorney can be effective immediately or only to become effective when your child becomes incapacitated.

HIPPA Authorization
This document, short of a power of attorney, is still helpful in that it will allow you to communicate with your child’s healthcare providers, even while your child is not incapacitated.  This may be particularly useful if you are still paying your child’s healthcare expenses and need to communicate with healthcare professionals.


The inspiration for this blog post came from a post written by Helene Wingens on the site Grown & Flown.  If you like what you read here, check out the full post on Grown & Flown.


If you have questions about this post or the document discussed here, please feel free to reach out to me anytime (sjr@shawnjroberts.com).

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."