Estate Planning for College Students

As your child prepares to begin a significant chapter in their life, it is natural for you, as a parent, to have a wide range of emotions. While you share their excitement, you also want them to be protected. This is why addressing the often-overlooked element of estate planning for college students is crucial. Many people may not factor this into their college planning checklist because their child may have few assets. Estate planning encompasses more than deciding where your assets go when you pass away. Your child, for instance, can benefit from having a few essential documents in place. We will review what they are so everyone involved can have peace of mind. 

Must-Have Estate Planning Documents

Outside of a will, the young adult who is about to move out of the house and into a college dormitory should have a durable power of attorney. This grants someone the authority to make financial decisions on their behalf. The primary reason why everyone should have this document is because of the possibility of incapacitation. The other document they need to consider is the medical power of attorney. 

Similar to the durable power of attorney that addresses financial concerns, a medical power of attorney designates someone to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf if they become incapacitated. Because the college student may be unable to communicate their healthcare preferences, this document is fundamental in ensuring their wishes are respected. 

Additional Considerations 

In addition to the essential estate planning documents mentioned above, there are a few other things worth noting. These documents are particularly important for children who come from divorced households whose parents don’t get along. For instance, if the child is significantly injured, the parents may disagree on a course of treatment. This planning will allow them to select who makes the medical decision if both parents are at odds. Because this can happen to anyone, remember that having co-agents doesn’t typically work. You need a tiebreaker. 

Lastly, what happens when your child is injured at school, and you call for information? These parents may get little information because their child is an adult. This highlights the need for a medical power of attorney with a HIPAA authorization. In some cases, a stand alone HIPAA Authorization is of particular importance as well. Your child must have a HIPAA Authorization on file with their medical provider. This allows medical professionals to release vital information to you. 

Comprehensive Estate Planning

Proper estate planning requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Here are some valuable tips for your child to remember: Choose trusted agents. When appointing someone as the agent in their durable power of attorney or medical power of attorney, they should select the person who will make decisions that align with their values and preferences.

Life changes should be reflected in all estate planning documents. In the event of marriage or the birth of a child, your child’s estate planning documents should be updated to reflect their new circumstances accurately—and review them regularly. Periodically reviewing your child’s estate planning documents ensures they remain relevant and meet their evolving needs.

The Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham

At the Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham, we understand the significance of estate planning for college students. Our team of experienced attorneys can guide you and your child through the process of creating the proper documents to safeguard their future. If you have any questions or require assistance with estate planning, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s work together to ensure your child’s wishes are protected, and their future is secure.

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Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham

Debbie Cunningham is an Irving attorney providing affordable estate planning to the Dallas/ Fort-Worth areas. She understands the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Debbie is family-focused and wants to ensure her clients are fully informed on the options that are available for their families. Debbie’s own blended family has given her valuable insights into the complexities of family dynamics.

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