It is back to school season for many families and many young adults are flying away from the nest to start a new chapter in their lives. For parents, however, sending your kids away to college can be both exciting and scary.
As soon as a child turns 18 years old they are considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Many of the rights parents have traditionally made for their children, including medical and financial decisions, are no longer available.
Estate planning is a great way that parents can be available to their adult children in similar ways that they were available to them as minors. Estate planning is not just for the old and rich. Even young adults can benefit from having a set of estate planning documents. Important documents that young adults should consider having in their estate plan include:
1) Durable financial power of attorney. Young adults can name the person who can act on their behalf in making financial decisions in case something happens to them or they need help. Without this kind of document in place, parents of adults can not intervene in situations that involve banking transactions, dealing with the school, dealing with the government, etc.
2) Medical power of attorney. Young adults can choose a trusted person to make healthcare decisions on their behalf should something happen and they are unable to make them themselves. By appointing someone with a medical power of attorney, they know the right person is making medical decisions for them when they cannot.
3) HIPAA authorization. This document authorizes their family and friends to receive updates on their health situation should something happen to them. This can be especially important for young adults that are at college away from home where they may not have HIPAA authorizations already on file. Medical providers cannot share confidential information with parents of adults, unless they have these kinds of authorizations on file.
4) A Will. While young adults may not have a lot of assets at such a young age, it is still important to outline what should happen to their assets should they die. If they do not have a will for themselves, Texas has a will for them and they may not like the will Texas has for them. We do not have a crystal ball that lets us know when we will die. Having a will in place will help your young adult ensure that their family will have what they need to get business taken care of should anything happen to them.
Before your kids go off to college, consider giving them the gift of estate planning to ensure you can still be there for them in all the ways they need you.