Estate Planning for College Students?

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College students need estate planning.


College can be a vulnerable time.

These young adults are responsible for themselves—many for the first time.

They must get to classes, make food, do laundry, set their alarms, and manage their own time without their parents.

Oftentimes parents are feel unable to help or are unsure how to provide support.

According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “Documents that Parents and College Students Need,” without certain documents in place parents may have no legal ability to help their adult child in times of need.

College students must give parents rights to medical and financial decisions.
Estate planning protects vulnerable college students.


Did you know most parental rights terminate when a child reaches legal adulthood.

In most states, this happens on the 18th birthday.

This fact makes estate planning vital for college students.

Without an appropriate estate plan in place you will be unable to access school records or medical records, or even make health care decisions for them should they be incapacitated.

What if you pay the insurance and tuition bills of your student?

Merely being the “wallet with legs” does not allow you to keep parental privileges.

What do you need?

HIPAA Authorization Form.

HIPAA laws protect the privacy of medical records.

To be given access to these essential records, your child will need to sign a HIPAA release allowing you access.

Medical Power of Attorney.

What would happen if your college student became incapacitated due to an injury or illness?

Who would make medical decisions on his or her behalf?

No one.

Without a medical power of attorney in place, you will need to petition the court for this authority.

Your child should name both primary and secondary agents in case the first is unavailable in an emergency.

Durable Power of Attorney.

Your child is still learning how to be an adult.

He or she may need help handling legal or financial matters in college, especially if incapacitated.

Your college student will need to create a durable power of attorney with you as an agent so you can provide support with taxes, bills, or financial accounts.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Waiver.

Grades are important for any college student.

If you want to see review the academic records for your child, you will need an academic release.

These forms are often available online or from the university.

By setting up these estate planning documents, your college student is taking the first steps to being a responsible adult.

Reference: Kiplinger (September 24, 2019) “Documents that Parents and College Students Need”

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