Does My College Age Child Really Need Estate Planning?

It is a crazy time around the Hallock house as school is officially back in session.  Today is especially crazy and bittersweet as our oldest is moving into the dorm.  It reminded me of some advice we gave a couple of years ago and I thought I would share again.  If you have a child who has now turned 18, there are a couple of additional items you might want to add to your back to school checklist:

  1. A Durable Power of Attorney; and

  2. An Advance Health Care Directive/Medical Power of Attorney

Once a child turns 18, whether they are in high school, college, on a mission or otherwise going abroad, they are legally an adult.  You, as the parent can no longer step in and act on their behalf without legal authorization.Having these two documents in place will allow you to more easily communicate with schools and medical providers about your adult (yet not-necessarily so grown-up) child.  HIPAA laws will often prevent medical providers from disclosing medical information to you without authorization.  Likewise, educational privacy laws will often do the same.  You may be paying your son or daughter’s tuition (and for their dorm), but that does not necessarily give you the right to access their records without their consent.  These documents can also come in handy just to help out if your child is out of the country or there is an unexpected emergency and your child needs you to act on his or her behalf.