LEGAL

What is the "Age of Majority" and how will it affect my life?

The "age of majority" -- the age at which a person is legally considered an adult- is 18 in Michigan. At age 18, you have new freedoms, but you also have lots of new responsibilities.

 

Before you turn 18, your parents are your legal guardians. They are responsible for supporting you, providing you with a place to live, with food, with medical care. 

When you turn 18, and become a legal adult, your parents are no longer legally responsible for supporting you, or for making any of these decisions for you.

Most parents continue to provide support to their adult children as long as is necessary, though they are no longer legally obligated to do so.

Each of these choices, and more, are now legally yours to make:

  • where you live,

  • what doctors you go to,

  • what treatments you receive,

  • when, what and where you eat,

  • who you associate with,

  • what your educational plan looks like,

  • what if any government or benefits you should apply for, and more.

Adulthood places special challenges and people with differing abilities. Hopefully you have been preparing for adulthood for several years:

  • By participating meaningfully in your educational and transition planning,

  • By being as independent as you can,

  • And by making as many good choices as you can.

If you haven’t, start now! So that you can live a self determined life.

Often people consider the years of young adulthood to be “transitional” years, where you work to get more of the skills you need to live independently, and to live a socially rich life.

 

During this time, parents can be of enormous help to you if you all agree:       

 

**You can give your parents, or other responsible people, legal authority to share decision-making with you. You would do this by completing ”supported decision-making“ documents, such as powers of attorney, healthcare patient advocate designation. More information can be found in other areas  of the LEGAL section  of MI LIFEMAP.

Some people with special needs are under guardianships. When you have a guardian, your legal rights are transferred to another person who is your guardian. Guardianships are very restrictive, and should be avoided if at all possible.         

 

The more involved you are with your life decisions in life choices, the more you commit yourself to getting the skills you need to be an independent adult, the less likely it is that you will need a guardian.

 

 

NEW RESPONSIBILITIES at Age 18:

  1. Register with Selective Service: If you are a boy you must Register for Selective Service between 30 days before and 30 days after you turn 18. If you don’t do this, you will be violating the law. It doesn’t matter you have a disability; that would only become an issue if you ever were drafted.  

  2. Register to vote (And become informed so that you can vote responsibly)

  3. Get a Michigan ID card: If you do not have a drivers’ license, you will need a valid photo ID for such things as opening a bank account, voting, identifying yourself to doctors’ offices, etc.  Contact your local Secretary of State office to find out what you will need to bring in order to get a Michigan ID card.

  4. Consider your banking needs: Open a bank account with a debit card option. You may have to share your account with a parent for a while until you gain enough skills to manage your money.  You can use your debit card to make purchases, as long as you have money in the bank to pay for those things. You must learn to access your account information so that you can manage your money.

  5. Consent to medical treatment: when you turn 18, doctors, dentists, pharmacies and other healthcare providers will turn to you for consent to provide treatment.  Under the law, we are supposed to do this because you are an adult and responsible for your own choices.  Medical providers cannot release your medical records to anyone, even your parents, unless you consent.

LINKS

(Clicking on one of the links below will take you away from mi-lifemap.org)

Register with Selective Service

Selective Service System

Register to Vote

Michigan Secretary of State

Obtain Michigan ID Card

Michigan Secretary of State

Contact us:

     

Email:   miglddn@gmail.com

Greater Lansing Developmental Disability Network

GLDDN