Every fall we have joyful parents who are ready for their kids to be back in school, and we have sad parents who are saying goodbye to their college children as they travel far away from them.
Regardless of where you fall, there is planning that needs to be done for your children. If you have minor children your will needs to name a guardian to take them in the event of your tragic early death. You must also decide if you want the same person who has custody of your children, to have custody of the money. Some people we trust to handle both. Sometimes we may want someone to raise our children in a similar way to the way you are currently raising them, but they may not be great with money. You can name a separate conservator for your children to handle all the finances. This allows you to make sure your kids get the best care, and the best money management for their future.
And what about incapacity? In a world full of uncertainties it may not be death that takes you away from your children. It could be a threatening disability. Your will may name a guardian in the event of your death, but it only impacts after your death, not incapacity. Accidents are unfortunately all too common today, your estate planning documents thus need to cover more than just death.
Adult children are a different issue. They no longer need to go to the neighbor or your sister if something happens to you, but children are children a lot longer today than the age of 18. They aren't always prepared to take care of themselves just because they hit that magic age. Nor do young adults make wise financial decisions. You can make decisions in your estate planning documents to cover this interim period of their lives until they reach a more responsible age.
Additionally, your 18+ year old is no longer a minor under your guardianship. You no longer have the right to make decisions for them, or even in the event of incapacity. Young adults need to have their own Powers of Attorney in place naming you as the parent as their potential agent. If they are injured at school, seeing a doctor, or having financial difficulty, those Powers of Attorney are what give you the authority to act as you would want to as a parent, even though they are an adult.