If you are a parent with a college-age child, you likely have many concerns. One often overlooked thing is estate planning. Even though some people think estate planning documents are only necessary for the elderly or wealthy individuals, in reality, these documents are helpful for people who are no longer able to care for themselves. While young adults are often focused on making the most out of their lives, it is an unfortunate truth that each year numerous young people end up incapacitated or killed as a result of emergencies. The best way to avoid undesirable consequences in these situations is to make sure that you have adequate estate planning tools in place. This article reviews just some of the critical estate planning documents that college-age students should consider creating.
Why Healthcare Planning is Important for College Students
Many college students are at least 18 years old, which means that they are viewed in the eyes of the law as adults who are capable of making their own healthcare decisions. As a result of the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), parents are at risk of being found without any decision-making abilities if something happens to the child and the parent becomes injured. This is because HIPAA applies even with a college student’s parents and even if the student is still listed on the parents’ medical insurance. To avoid being locked out of learning about a child’s health or decision-making abilities in case of an emergency, it is important to be mindful of either HIPAA or estate planning documents like financial powers of attorney.
Other Important Estate Planning Documents
There are several important legal documents that parents should create to avoid undesirable consequences in case something happens to a college-age child. Consider the following types of estate planning documents:
- Financial power of attorney. These documents are used to give another individual the authority to make healthcare decisions as well as engage in financial decisions and sign legal documents.
- Healthcare power of attorney. These documents designate a third party to make decisios on behalf of a person who becomes incapacitated and no longer able to decide about the care they receive.
- HIPAA authorization. These estate planning documents authorize an individual’s health care information to be shared or disclosed to a third party.
While the exact estate planning documents that a person uses vary by state, it is a good idea to create an estate plan that follows the regulations of the state where the student attends college.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
While it is possible to find and fill out online estate planning documents, an experienced estate planning lawyer is often necessary to make sure that these documents are properly written. If you have questions or concerns about this process, a knowledgeable lawyer can help. Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free case evaluation.