The topic of estate planning is frequently overlooked in the craze to get kids to college.
When your child leaves home, it’s essential to understand that you may not legally hold the same rights in your relationship as 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 discussions as soon as possible with your adult child about plans they should put into place before going on their own or heading to college. An experienced estate planning attorney can give counsel on the issues concerning your child’s physical health and financial well-being.
When your child turns 18, you’re no longer your child’s legal guardian. Therefore, healthcare providers can’t disclose issues about their health 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 consent for medical procedures. As a result, you’d likely be denied access to their medical information. Ask your child to complete a HIPAA release. This medical form 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 significant challenge to obtain any medical updates about your adult child, including 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 independently. This designation is done by naming a healthcare proxy or agent. Without this document, deciding who makes choices regarding your child’s medical matters may be uncertain.
Your child should ensure their financial matters are addressed if they 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.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (Sep. 24, 2021) “Estate Planning Documents Every College Student Should Have in Place”