Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Estate Planning Documents You Need for Your College-Age Kids

Back to school time is once again upon us. It has never been easy for parents to send off their college-age kids back to campus, but this year may be exceptionally difficult. College campuses across the country are reopening, but there are heightened restrictions due to the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this added stress, parents of college-age kids may be more worried than ever for the health and well being of their sons and daughters. You may be surprised to learn that one way of managing this stress can be to put certain estate planning documents in place for your college student. Estate planning documents, those relating to health care in particular, can give you a much-needed sense of control in a seemingly unprecedented time of chaos.

Estate Planning Documents for College Students

Let’s be honest, worrying about our kids does not stop when they turn 18. Our rights over our children, such as the ability to make medical decisions on their behalf and access medical information, however, does change when a child turns 18. Once a son or a daughter reaches the legal age of adulthood, we, as parents must reassess what we are legally authorized to do regarding our child.

For instance, if your college student should need to be admitted to the hospital for one reason or another, you may be prevented from finding out where they are treated, what they are being treated for, and what treatment they are receiving. This is due to privacy restrictions put in place by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In order to retain the right to access certain critical medical information pertaining to your college-age kid, you will need a signed HIPAA release. This will enable you to remain informed as to your son or daughter’s medical treatment.

You should also consider putting a durable power of attorney in place which establishes you as the agent for your son or daughter. A durable power of attorney can empower the agent to, should the situation warrant it, conduct legal and financial business on behalf of the principal, the person who established the power of attorney. The durability feature means that it will remain effective in the event the principal becomes incapacitated.

Another important estate planning document you should consider putting in place for your college kid is a health care surrogate. A health care surrogate designates a person who will be tasked with making medical decisions on behalf of the principal in the event the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to communicate his or her wishes for himself or herself. This means that you will have the ability to make medical decisions for your son or daughter under the direst of circumstances. Without a health care surrogate in place, you may not be able to do so.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Considering the possibility that you may need any one of these estate planning documents can be difficult to confront. Find peace, however, knowing that you are protecting your loved ones when you put these legal tools in place. None of us are immune from a worst-case scenario. Do what you can to protect your loved ones. Hyden, Miron & Foster is here for you. Contact us today.


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