ESTATE PLANNING FOR COLLEGE KIDS – REALLY?
It’s hard to believe that your child, after the Covid thing, is back on campus. Even though you look at her as your kid, she is an adult. Up until this point in your kid’s life, you probably made their healthcare and financial decision, but now that she is an adult, legally you have no authority and no say. At this age, it is in the family’s best interest to have a small estate plan for your college age kids.
When we use the word estate plan, most folks identify a Will or a Trust. We’re not talking about that. Instead, college kids should have the proper documents allowing their Parents to act on their behalf if they are temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
This is the situation. Your child is on spring break in Florida, gets in an accident, has to undergo a medical procedure, and you want information from the hospital about their condition. You want to be able to discuss what is going on with the doctors and nurses. Well guess what? You don’t have the legal authority to do so, unless your kid has given you the legal authority.
HERE ARE THE BASIC DOCUMENTS THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER:
- General Durable Power of Attorney – this document will allow you to handle your child’s business needs, banking etc.
- Health Care Power of Attorney or Health Care Representative documentation – this document will allow you to make healthcare decisions for your child if he or she is unable to make their own decision.
- HIPAA compliant medical authorization – this is a short document that will allow your Child’s healthcare providers to provide you with his/her medical information and medical condition.
By having your kid sign these estate planning documents, you can insure that if something should happen, you will be able to access their medical information, speak with their treating healthcare providers, and make any necessary health care decisions if your child is unable to do so.
It is not a pleasant thing to discuss with your child, but we have all heard stories of incidents that happen when kids are away at college. The best thing that can happen is you have the documents and never need to use them. Remember an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.