When you send your child off to college, you probably made sure they were up to date on their shots and that they had the right kind of bed sheets for those weird dorm mattresses. What you may not have considered is what would happen if your child had some kind of medical emergency while off at school.
If you have not already done so, the next time your child comes home for a break might be when you need to sit down with them and create an estate plan. While they do have their whole lives ahead of them, they may still need your support if something unexpected happens.
College students need to worry about incapacitation, not their legacy
With rare exceptions, most college students won’t have enough property in their name to make estate planning a major concern. The real issue is what happens in the event of a medical emergency.
Once your child turns 18 years of age, medical professionals can no longer share information with parents without consent from the patient. If your child is in a coma after a car crash, you won’t be able to make decisions about their care or even know about their condition without your child’s consent.
Only by planning ahead and having your child create an advance directive, a medical power of attorney and HIPAA paperwork that allows doctors to talk to you can you ensure they will have the support and care they need if something happens while they are away at school.
Talking about estate planning with your young adults will help them make responsible choices now and in the future — and it will set the tone for when they have their own children who depend on them.