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Estate Planning for College Bound Kids: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Potential Problem

Your child is packing his or her bags and preparing to leave for college. Your child is over the age of eighteen (18), so from a legal perspective, they are an adult. However, you as a parent still feel responsible for them. You wonder, how can you “be there” for them, when you are far away?

The Solution

Prepare a few essential estate planning documents together with your child before he or she heads off to college. These documents, outlined below, can insure that parents are able to access their children’s medical information and be informed in the case of an emergency. There is also a document that can give parents the ability to assist children in managing finances in the event of incapacity.

HIPAA Authorization: A signed HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization form gives permission to a medical provider and health insurance company to disclose medical information to whomever the college bound child specifies. Young adults who are concerned about disclosure of sensitive information, but still want their parents involved in their care, can specify what information may or may not be disclosed on the form. Parents do not have any authority to access their adult children’s medical information without this document or other form of express authorization.

Medical Power of Attorney: A medical power of attorney (“POA”) lets your college bound child plan ahead for difficult medical decisions. It allows the child to name someone (an “agent”) that will communicate healthcare decisions on their behalf in case they are unable to communicate them. Without this document, a parent’s ability to make medical decisions for children over the age of eighteen (18) will be determined by the state law where the child is receiving medical treatment.

Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney (“DPOA”) allows your college bound child to select a person to “step into their shoes” if they become mentally or physically incapacitated. With a properly executed Power of Attorney, a young adult can permit parents to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf when they are unable to make those decisions for themselves. This is especially important for college students who are living on their own for the first time and starting to build their rental and credit history. Failure to have a properly executed durable power attorney may result in a costly guardianship proceeding later on, or negative impact on the child’s credit and rental history due to missed bills.

Reznik Law is an estate planning and business law firm serving clients throughout the Wake County area. Including, but not limited to, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Durham, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Chapel Hill, Knightdale, Zebulon and New Hill. We offer will drafting services, trust drafting services, powers of attorney, special needs planning and estate planning for college bound children. Contact us today to schedule a college estate planning session. www.apexwills.com.



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