I was speaking with a client recently involving the updating of the revocable living trust and estate planning documents given some changes that they wanted to complete. During our conversation the client informed me that their son was preparing to go away to college this fall. This caused me to ask the client the question:
"Do you have his necessary legal document in place?"
What many people do not realize is that estate planning is even needed for that adult son or daughter who is going away to college. Specifically, there are four extremely important legal documents that should be put in place before that day that your adult son or daughter leaves home for the first time.
First, I know it's hard to believe. As a father myself, the greatest day was taking my children home from the hospital. However, it is important to remember that they are now adults. It may not seem like it. Although, in the eyes of the law, they are now adults. What this means, is that if they should be in an accident or suffer from an illness, you will not be able to speak with doctors on their behalf or access their medical records. I know, it seems hard to believe, but it is true. A hospital is obligated under HIPPA not to release confidential medical information about any of their patients (even to the patient's parents) unless specifically authorized by the patient.
Therefore, I tell every family that I work with and every family that I speak with, the following legal documents are necessary for that son or daughter going away to college:
Durable Power of Attorney
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Living Will Declaration
With these documents in place, you will have the assurance that you will be able to act on your adult child's behalf should, God forbid, something happen to your adult son or daughter that requires you to access their medical records, speak with doctors, authorize medical treatment on their behalf, or access any bank accounts.
As always, should you have any questions about estate planning, I encourage you to download one of our Free Reports and Free Books. If you have an estate planning need, please contact us and schedule a time to come into the office for a visit. As always, we are here to help you with your estate planning needs.
Daniel A. Perry