Jay Lenox of Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC, acknowledges that the topic of estate planning is frequently overlooked in the craze to get kids to college. He should know- he currently has two young adults in college. Do college kids need estate planning? Definitely!
When your child leaves home, it’s important to understand that legally you may not hold the same rights in your relationship that you did for the first 18 years of your child’s life.
Wealth Advisor’s article entitled “Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Should Have in Place” says that it’s crucial to have these discussions as soon as possible with your college student about the plans they should put into place before going out on their own or heading to college. An experienced estate planning attorney like the ones at can give counsel on the issues concerning your child’s physical health and financial well-being.
When your child turns 18, you are no longer your child’s legal guardian. Therefore, issues pertaining to his or her health can’t be disclosed to you without your child’s consent. For instance, if your child is in an accident and becomes temporarily incapacitated, you couldn’t make any medical decisions or even give consent. As a result, you’d likely be denied access to his or her medical information. Ask your child to complete a HIPAA release. This is a medical form that names the people allowed to get information about an individual’s medical status, when care is needed. If you’re not named on their HIPAA release, it’s a major challenge to obtain any medical updates about your adult child, including information like whether they have been admitted to a hospital.
In addition, your child also needs to determine the individual who will manage their healthcare decisions, if they’re unable to do so on their own. This is done by designating a healthcare proxy or agent. Without this document, the decision about who makes choices regarding your child’s medical matters may be uncertain. Beck & Lenox attorneys use a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) for Healthcare for that purpose.
Your child should ensure his or her financial matters are addressed if he or she can’t see to them, either due to mental incapacity or physical limitations, such as studying abroad. Ask that you or another trusted relative or friend be named agent under your child’s Financial Power of Attorney, so that you can help with managing things like financial aid, banking and tax matters. Beck & Lenox recommends that POA to be durable as well.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (Sep. 24, 2021) “Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Should Have in Place”