When parents think about the future of their families, and in particular about estate planning, those with children often first consider guardianships, trusts and general considerations about how their children will be cared for if something happens to them as parents. But, what happens after children become adults and move off to college? In fact, this may be an important period for young adults to turn to their own estate planning and draft key documents as part of building their financial and physical independence. Here are two considerations and key documents college students should look into before leaving for campus:
HIPAA release or medical proxy
Once a child is 18, parents do not automatically have the right to health information. This can become an issue if a child is injured and wants a parent to be able to make informed decisions about the child’s care. A HIPAA release may be a good avenue here, as it provides parents with permission to access health information related to their adult children. Young adults who prefer not to sign a blanket release may instead wish to designate a parent or trusted party as a health care proxy so it is clear who will make decisions if they become incapacitated.
Financial power of attorney
Most college students have limited assets, but this does not mean financial proxies are unimportant to them. On the contrary, they could be deeply important in order to access limited funds in times of great need. For example, if a child is studying abroad and has a sudden lack of access to accounts, he or she may need someone else to have access to these matters. Having paperwork done in advance for these situations can help immensely in the long run.
For young adults, the value of drafting these documents goes beyond simply protection and future contingencies. Having these conversations and taking these steps can help teach them about financial planning and kick off good habits of planning for the future. Working with an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney can help both parents and young adults understand their roles and responsibilities, draft these key documents and start a positive trend for the future.