Estate Planning for College Students
With universities opening across the country, many of us are anxious about sending our children to their respective campuses. While a child’s departure can be worrisome under normal circumstances, the coronavirus pandemic has elevated our level of stress. There are many items on the typical pre-college ‘to-do’ list and now, more than ever, creating an estate plan for your child should be located at the top of that list.
In most states, like it or not, an 18-year old is considered a legal adult. You may be shocked to learn that means that, as a parent, your legal right to make important decisions about your child’s health care and finances is no longer automatic. Accordingly, especially during the ongoing pandemic, it is imperative that you establish your legal ability to make these decisions, before it is too late. Prior to your child departing for college or otherwise embarking on the next stage of his or her life, a health care proxy, power of attorney and HIPAA authorization, at a minimum, should be created and executed.
1. Health Care Proxy
The Health Care Proxy will allow your adult child to appoint you as his or her agent to make health care decisions on his or her behalf, in the event that your child is unable to make those decisions on his or her own. In the event of your child’s incapacity or incompetence, as health care agent, you would be authorized to make decisions regarding your child’s medical treatment.
2. Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows your child to appoint you as agent to handle his or her financial affairs, including paying bills, making deposits or withdrawals, opening or closing bank accounts, filing tax returns and renewing a lease.
A Power of Attorney is particularly important in the event of a child’s incapacity or incompetence, as it may avoid the costly and complicated Guardianship procedure which is otherwise required when an individual becomes incapacitated for any reason, whether as a result of coronavirus, disease or accident. In addition, it can prevent any difficulties involved with the management of your child’s financial affairs while a Guardianship proceeding is pending and before a Guardian has been appointed by the court.
3. HIPAA Authorization
This form enables your child to grant written permission to his or her health care providers to share crucial medical information with you, as your child’s health care agent.
At Lara Sass & Associates, PLLC, we understand how important it is for college students to get their estate planning in place, and we have vast experience with this type of planning. We are here to ensure that these plans are done properly for the benefit of your college student.