Legal Matters All New Adults Must Be Aware

June 17, 2021

Whether you’ve just turned 18 or your teenager just had their 18th birthday, there are some legal issues that may now arise because of those 18 birthday candles. While that may sound a little scary, it doesn’t have to be. Simply being aware of these legal issues can help you ensure that you don’t run into any headaches as you or your 18-year-old ventures forth into life as a young adult!

Establishing Emergency Authorities

Being 18 means you or your child is technically an adult now. They’re given some new responsibilities and freedoms. Some of those perks include privacy protections and, of course, the freedom to manage your own or their own finances and medical matters. But what about if something happens to you or your 18-year-old? This is why it is important to establish some documents called an Advanced Medical Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney.

What these documents do is establish someone else, usually a parent or a guardian, as the manager of financial and medical matters should something happen to cause the 18-year-old in question to become incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle those matters on their own for some reason. Speaking with an attorney is the best way to make sure that these documents are prepared and processed properly!

Signing of Contracts and Other Legal Documents

Being 18 also means you can now sign legal contracts for a variety of things. Renting your first apartment, signing up for a video streaming account so that you can watch your favorite shows, and even being called in for jury duty! But as an 18-year-old being able to sign these contracts, you or your 18-year-old will also be held accountable for breaching those contracts. Being 18 means being able to be sued and having the ability to file a lawsuit against others.

Establishing and Growing Your Credit

At 18 years old, you or your child will now also be eligible to start having their own credit record, sign up for their own credit cards, and begin building their credit score. This is important for things such as home loans, vehicle purchases, or getting a loan for anything else. Just be sure to stay on top of your payments to ensure that you don’t take any hits to your credit score!

Criminal Laws and Prosecution

Being considered an adult also means that should you break any laws you will be prosecuted as an adult. Be aware of laws such as drinking and possession laws, drug laws, and other common restriction laws to ensure that you don’t trip on anything by accident. Every state has their own variations of laws such as marijuana possession, so it is important that you perform as much research as possible.

Military Service

While the US Military is a volunteer-based military force, men who reach the age of 18 are also required to register for Selective Service in the case that a military draft should ever be activated. This doesn’t mean that a draft is going to happen in the foreseeable future, but this is in place in the case that it is ever found to be required.

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