You may have been running around for weeks, getting your new college student off to school. It’s exhilarating, and your heart likely is bursting at the seams. You’re probably prouder than words can express, but you’re also a little afraid, too. How can you make sure your child is going to be safe at school, their new home away from home? A new, matching Bed Bath and Beyond sheet set for the dorm sounds great, but it just doesn’t seem like quite enough, does it? So what else can you do?
Actually, there is something, probably not yet on your to-do list, that absolutely can make all the difference. Bring your child to a local estate planning attorney.
You’ve probably focused on the fact that, having graduated from high school, your child is an adult now—meaning that your child is going to spread her wings. But what is essential to remember: At 18, a college student may still want her mom and dad by her side if she gets sick. However, legally, decisions for medical care are hers alone now. If she were to be unconscious from a serious car accident, a parent couldn’t authorize medical care without first going to court. And it would be up to a judge to determine if her parent would be an appropriate guardian to make medical decisions.
We don’t want to worry you, but the unfortunate reality is that every year, a significant number of people between 18 and 25 wind up in the nation’s hospitals, and their parents are often locked out of critical decisions.
Therefore, experts recommend that everyone over the age of 18 have a financial power of attorney and medical directive that would allow someone they trust to act on their behalf if they aren’t able to.
Here are some things to take care of with your new college student:
- A Durable Financial Power of Attorney: This is a legal document that allows you to take care of your child’s checking or savings accounts, pay bills, etc., if your child is unable to—whether due to illness or even just location (for example, if the school is on the other side of the country).
- A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: Like the financial version, this allows you to handle medical decisions for your child if your child is unable to do so.
We’ve been helping families attain peace of mind for years. Reach out to us today to protect your new college student and your family. Click here and schedule an appointment to build a well-crafted plan for you and your family.