Before Your Kids Go Off To College
This is graduation time. This is a time when many of you may be celebrating your children’s academic achievements. During this hectic time, parents may be consumed with helping prepare their soon-to-be college student, causing them to overlook important estate planning matters.
Here are a few important things you should do before you send your child off to college.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Every year, roughly a quarter of a million young adults between the ages of 18-25 wind up in the hospital. From alcohol poisoning and nonlethal accidents to unexpected illnesses, it’s important that you hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Once a child reaches the age of 18, your decision-making role diminishes significantly, especially in regards to making healthcare decisions.
Should your child get in a car accident, or fall ill and not be capable of making his or her own medical decisions, then without a durable power of attorney naming you as health care agents for the child, you cannot make medical decisions on your child’s behalf. Working with your child to create a health care power of attorney should be at the tip of your to-do list.
In order to make informed medical decisions, it’s important to include a HIPPA Authorization along with a health care power of attorney. Without it, you would be unable to communicate with healthcare professionals and insurance companies. This includes obtaining your child’s health records and previous treatment information as well.
Durable Power of Attorney (Finances and Property)
Similar to a health care power of attorney, a financial power of attorney gives you the ability to make financial decisions on your child’s behalf, should he or she be unable to do so themselves.
Should the child become disabled for any reason, then you would still be able to pay your child’s rent, credit card bills, utilities, access bank accounts and financial records, as well as manage loans they may have.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is designed to protect a college student’s privacy. However, it can also leave parents locked out in an emergency. A properly worded release can allow you to talk to school officials and release pertinent information should you need it.
Last Will and Testament
While many parents don’t want to think about this topic, it’s an important one to add to the list. A will allows you to honor your child’s wishes with their social media accounts, bank accounts, and personal assets.