Sure, it seems a little counter-intuitive to think that a college student needs an “estate” plan, but there are some really important legal documents that parents need to keep in mind. After all, once your child turns 18, you no longer have the legal right to speak on his or her behalf. This may not seem like that big of a deal until your darling offspring gets in a fender bender and needs to deal with insurance or needs medical records but doesn’t have time during finals week to hunt them down.
Generally speaking, if something goes terribly amiss with your college student, such as a medical emergency, you will have some recourse. If he or she becomes seriously ill or injured to the point of being incapacitated, the courts will likely appoint you as his or her conservator. It may be beneficial, however, to circumvent that process by putting medical directives into place in advance, as this process could take weeks (and sometimes months!). That way, if you end up in a critical situation, you will have all the documentation you need to make fast medical decisions on your child’s behalf.
In order to have access to your child’s medical records (or even to chat with his or her doctor about medical issues), you will need a HIPPA authorization, as well as a medical power of attorney. The purpose for having this type of power should be helping your child and making things easier, rather than to just be nosey–and you may need to make this clear to your college student who is anxious to spread his or her wings. It may also be helpful to let your child know that these documents are temporary and can be revoked at any time down the road.
The idea of having some legal say can reduce hassles in other ways, too. For example, if Junior is off on Spring Break and runs into some kind of financial crisis, you could be authorized to talk to and compromise with the bank on his behalf. In this type of case, a financial power of attorney is especially helpful, and a Newport Beach estate planning lawyer can help you get one in place.
Speaking of estate planning lawyers in Newport Beach, while no parent wants to even imagine the worst case scenario, it is good practice to have your college student set up a will. He or she can name the executor and speed up the probate process should a need arise. This also gives your child the ability to have some say in what becomes of his or her assets, rather than leaving you to guess what should be done with favorite mementos.
If you’re ready to get started creating a basic estate plan for your college student, simply give our Newport Beach law firm a call at (949) 260-1400 and ask to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with the mention of this article ($750 value).