Most parents don’t realize once their child turns 18 they no longer have any legal control over the child’s finances, medical decisions or access to medical information. If your child is heading off to college this fall, make sure he or she has a few essential estate planning documents that will make both of your lives easier.
Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney allows your child to appoint someone to act on his or her behalf with respect to a wide array of financial matters. This document may come in handy in dealing with a lease, paying rent, accessing bank accounts, accessing school tuition accounts, or disputing a credit card charge.
Medical Power of Attorney: A medical power of attorney allows your child to appoint someone to make medical decisions when he or she is unable to do so. This may mean determining which of several treatments is best for your child or consenting to surgery or treatment. If your child doesn’t execute a Directive to Physicians (aka Living Will), then the agent under the medical power of attorney will, in most instances, also have the authority to make end of life decisions as well.
HIPAA Release: If your child hasn’t executed a HIPAA Release allowing you to access your child’s medical records and history, you will be denied access to this critical information. For instance, if your child is admitted to the hospital or to a facility for psychological or mental care, you will not be provided with information regarding their medical and/or mental health status without this document.
Making sure your child has the tools they need to successfully navigate their college career must include these essential estate planning documents.