College students often neglect estate planning.
Life is full of transitions.
One important time of transition is that from adolescence to adulthood.
Corresponding with this transition, young people either move directly to a career or into further education.
Regardless the path they take, estate planning if often overlooked.
According to a recent Wealth Advisor article titled “Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Should Have in Place,” college students (and their parents) may find themselves more vulnerable in times of need without estate planning documents.
If your children are in this stage of life, you will be limited in your involvement with their finances and healthcare when they turn 18.
Should your children become ill or injured, their healthcare providers will not be able to disclose information to you.
Accidents are unpredictable by nature and can leave your child incapacitated.
Simply being their parent does not give you the right to make decisions regarding their medical care.
What can you do to correct this problem?
Talk with your college student about estate planning and arrange an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Ask your child to complete an advance health care directive, a general durable power of attorney (for financial matters), and a HIPAA release.
Because the HIPAA release allows the “Authorized Individuals” to be privy to private medical information, you will face many challenges to receiving updates on the health status of your child (even in an emergency) without one.
The advance health care directive allow your child to designate you to make the medical decisions on his or her behalf if incapacitated.
Lastly, the general durable power of attorney is used to appoint an agent (i.e., attorney in fact) to manage the finances of an incapacitated newly-minted adult.
A general “durable” power of attorney is effective during incapacity, which is just the time such power is needed.
It is also helpful if your college student is studying abroad and needs someone to take care of tax matters, banking, or financial aid.
Bottom line: estate planning generally and incapacity planning specifically are essential, whether the young adult in your life is in the workforce or in college.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (Sep. 24, 2021) “Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Should Have in Place”