4 Things You Must Take Care of Before Your Kid Goes Off To College

May is graduation month. This is a time when many of you may be celebrating your child’s academic achievements and even getting ready to send them off to college. During this hectic and emotionally tumultuous time, you may be all-consumed with helping prepare your soon-to-be college student for the next phase, causing you to overlook important estate planning matters.​

This is where an estate plan comes in. There are a few important things you should add to your to-do list as you get ready to send your kids off to college. 

1. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Every year, roughly a quarter of a million young adults between the ages of 18-25 wind up in the hospital. From alcohol poisoning and nonlethal accidents to unexpected illnesses, it’s important to remember to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Once your child reaches the age of 18, your decision making role is significantly diminished, especially in regards to making health care decisions. 

Should your child get in a car accident or fall ill and not be capable of making their own medical decisions, then without a durable power of attorney naming their parents as health care agents, you cannot make medical decisions on your child’s behalf. If you want to ensure that you can continue to make health care decisions for your child, working with your child to create a health care power of attorney should be at the top of your to-do list. 

2. HIPPA Authorization

In order to make informed medical decisions, it’s important to include a HIPPA authorization form along with a health care power of attorney. Without it, you would be unable to communicate with health care professionals and insurance companies, as well as access your child’s health records and previous treatment information.

3. Durable Power of Attorney (Finances and Property)

Similar to a health care power of attorney, a financial power of attorney gives you the ability to make financial decisions on your child’s behalf, should they be unable to do so themselves. Should your child become disabled for any reason, then you would still be able to pay your child’s rent, credit card bills, utilities, access bank accounts and financial records, as well as manage any loans they may have.

4. Last Will and Testament

While many parents don’t want to think about this topic, especially as your child leaves home, it’s an important one to add to the list. A will allows you to honor your child’s wishes on what should be done with their social media accounts, bank accounts, and personal assets. It also allows your child to specify any funeral arrangements they would like to have.