Important Legal Documents To Work on This Summer Before Heading Off to College

Planning for the start of college is typically years in the making for most families, with the summer prior reserved for last-minute activities such as buying dorm furniture, attending freshman orientation, and worrying about roommates.

Before leaving for college, there’s another task that’s just as important for 18-year-olds and their families to consider: estate planning. Commonly thought of as something that’s reserved for older adults, estate planning should be considered for anyone age 18 and older. That’s because as an adult, the 18-year-old has the legal right to:

  • Make his or her own medical decisions (even if they differ from what’s recommended by his or her doctors or parents); and
  • Keep his or her own medical, financial, and educational information private, even from parents.

So, what legal documents should an 18-year-old have in place before leaving for college this fall? Young adults and their families should consider the following:

A will

Many young people have assets, including money earned from a job or passed down from an inheritance. Even meaningful objects, such as a video game collection or a first car, may be considered assets worth passing down to heirs.

By creating a simple will, young people have the opportunity to decide on beneficiaries for their accounts, items, and other assets.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

A power of attorney is a legal document in which an individual names another person to act on his or her behalf. In the case of a durable power of attorney for finances, an individual will have the ability to spend, invest, or distribute a young person’s assets if he or she is incapable of doing so. This could include paying bills and accessing bank accounts.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

This legal document allows the adult child to appoint a parent or another responsible individual the legal right to make healthcare decisions if he or she is unable to. This includes end-of-life wishes.

HIPAA Release

Under HIPAA rules, parents are no longer permitted to access an 18-year-old child’s records without written consent. A HIPAA release allows parents to access their child’s medical records and receives updates after the age of 18. A HIPAA release does not give parents the power to make medical decisions, but instead allows them access to their child’s medical records.

Help is available

The estate planning attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding the power of attorney documents for young adults. For more information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Estate Planning