Cheryl Lynn Nelson is a certified paralegal, income tax advisor, Notary Public and a parent. Cheryl knew that most parents were completely unaware that their rights regarding his or her child’s medical decisions changed once the child turned 18 and that few resources available to help them navigate these changes. This led her to create Plan-18. At our Tue-Nov-21 Breakfast in Sunnyvale, Cheryl shared lessons learned from bootstrapping the idea to execution of Plan 18, and balancing the demands of a day job with a startup.

Cheryl Lynn Nelson: Bootstrapping a legal document workbook for 18 year olds

Cheryl Lynn Nelson is a certified paralegal, income tax advisor, Notary Public and a parent. She has worked in the estate planning, trust administration and probate area of law for over 11 years. Plan-18’s evolution was a result of Cheryl’s experiences at the law office, at the tax office, and after her son Jonathan turned 18 years of age.

As an estate planning paralegal, Cheryl knew that a parents’ rights, re his or her child’s medical decisions, changed once a child turned 18 years of age. She also knew that most parents of an 18 year old were completely unaware that his or her rights changed as a parent. Further, there weren’t any resources available to help parents navigate these changes unless a parent perhaps had prior knowledge from his or her own estate planning attorney.

Thus, Plan-18 ( ) was born.



  • My background
    1. Paralegal
    2. Tax preparer
    3. Parent
  • What is Plan-18?
    • Brand
    • Legal document workbook for anyone 18 years of age or older
      1. Advance Health Care Directive
      2. HiPAA
      3. Power of Attorney
      4. Permission to Speak Letter

How Plan-18 Just Happened:

  1. The first light-bulb moment
  2. Keeping the name
  3. The web designer nightmares
  4. The second light-bulb moment
  5. The workshop concept
  6. From primitive workbook to publication

What I’ve Learned:

  1. It’s hard, especially if you also work
  2. Keep moving (baby steps), especially if you also work
  3. Integrate into your daily life, especially if you also work
  4. Finding and keeping a balance
  5. Listen to all, but follow your gut
  6. Try to keep it simple

Helpful Email Subscriptions:

  1. Founder Institute Insights –
  2. Power of Positivity –
  3. AngelList –

CJ Lipe Notes

We are fortunate to have CJ Lipe of as our coordinator for South Bay Bootstrapper Breakfasts, she provides contract administrative support for startups and executives, she can be reached at 510-410-5285 . CJ provided the following supplemental notes on Cheryl’s briefing.

  • Her project initially started out with a questionnaire on a website, and in time morphed into a self-published workbook, Plan 18. In 2018 she will continue to develop Plan 18 and expand the offering into a series of webinars.
  • Because most parents are unaware that once his or her child turns 18 years of age, his or her rights to obtain medical and even school information about their now young adult are limited.
  • The Plan-18 workbook provides the documents necessary to help parents and young adults prepare in advance for a potential medical or financial emergency.
  • Plan-18 is also a legal document workbook for anyone turning 18 years of age or older.
    It contains: a) an Advance Health Care Directive; b) HIPAA medical release form; c) Power of Attorney; and d) Permission to Speak Letter.
  • Each document is comprised of information on why the document is needed, examples of how to complete the document, blank documents for use, and what to do with the document after it’s signed.
  • Plan 18 can currently be purchased on, Barnes and Nobel and E-bay.