Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Should Have
Getting ready for your children to head off to college is an exciting time. It can also be rather stressful, both for you and for them, as you attend to details such as dorm accommodations, meal plans, and last minute tuition payments. While it is easy to get embroiled in the emotional aspects of your child leaving home for the first time to venture out on their own as young adults, there are practical elements that need to be dealt with. Getting estate planning documents together for your student may not be at the top of your back to school list, but as the majority of college freshman are 18 or older, there are some documents that are essential to making sure both their rights and their interest are protected.
Three Important Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Needs
A Wall Street Journal report on financial planning for young people asserts that while parents may consider their college age students as still being children and are likely paying some portion of the costs associated with their college career, the fact is that most of these students are at an age where public and private entities alike will treat them as adults. This could present challenges in the event your son or daughter suffers an accident, injury, or illness. According to the WSJ, having the following three documents can help to protect their rights to privacy, while making sure that you, as their parents, has the proper authority in the event an emergency arises:
- Health Care Proxy: Having your child appoint you as their health care proxy ensures you will have the right to make any decisions on their medical care and treatment, in the event they are unable to do so themselves.
- HIPAA Release Form: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the privacy of individuals by not releasing medical information without prior written approval. Even if you are named as their health care proxy, being listed on a HIPAA release form ensures your right to receive medical information about their condition and their treatment if an accident or health issue occurs.
- Power of Attorney: Being given power of attorney in the event your son or daughter is incapacitated allows you access to their financial accounts, while also enabling you to deal with school officials, their landlord, and any utility companies on their behalf.
Deciding On A Will
While contemplating death is unpleasant at any age, it is a fact of life. Even if your son or daughter does not have significant financial assets or own any property, a will can designate their individual preferences when it comes to the following:
- Preferences in terms of the type of service or memorial they would like to have;
- Designating heirs for prized collections or memorabilia they have accumulated;
- Directions for distribution of any life insurance policies you have taken out on their behalf.
While parents may see this as too grim a task, many young adults appreciate the opportunity to be a part of adult matters and to dictate what is important to them. If approached as just one aspect of being a responsible adult, creating an estate plan can be your child’s first steps in sound financial planning for their future.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys for Assistance
At Cavallo & Cavallo, our experienced New York estate attorneys provide the trusted, professional legal representation to insure you and your family are protected in all of your affairs. With offices in the Bronx and New Rochelle, we are your neighborhood law firm, so call or contact us online today for a free and confidential consultation.