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Your kids may get older, go off to college, and onto the real world, but they will always be your kids no matter what. Some of you may be spending the summer getting your son or daughter ready to move to college in the fall. It is an exciting time and you likely have an extensive to-do list. Be sure that seeing a trusted estate planning attorney makes this list and add it to the top.

Kid Going Off to College in the Fall? Estate Planning Documents You Need

While your kid may always be your kid to you, in the eyes of the law they are legally at adult when they turn 18. When you are an adult, your parents no longer have automatic authority over you nor do they have the automatic authorization to access your medical information. That is why do things like put estate plans in place, right? Estate plans include documents that authorize others to access of medical information, manage our affairs, and make medical decisions on our behalf should the need arise. Many people overlook the fact that college-age kids, as legal adults, need such documents in place too.

For instance, if your kid is injured, ill, or needs medical treatment while away at school, you may find it next to impossible to get information about their status from the hospital or medical facility. This is because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Without HIPAA authorization, you are not able to access medical status and information of a legal adult, regardless of whether you are their parent and regardless of whether you are trying to get such information in person or over the phone. Before your kid heads off to college, make sure that they execute a HIPAA authorization which will allow you to remain informed on their medical status should the need arise while they are away at school.

You should also consider having your college-kid execute a general power of attorney as well as a health care surrogate. A general power of attorney, that is durable, can authorize an agent to manage your financial and other affairs under certain circumstances, such as should you be incapacitated. A health care surrogate allows a person to designate an agent, the surrogate, to make healthcare decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacitation. With these documents in place, your child can authorize you to make necessary medical decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacitation as well as manage their affairs, thus avoiding the need to go to court seeking a guardianship. The guardianship process can be quite costly as well as complicated and time intensive.

Estate Planning Attorney

Before you send your kid off to college, come see our team at Verras Law. We can put all the necessary legal protections in place that will bring you peace of mind whether your kid will be close to home or far away. Contact Verras Law today.