Does your college-aged child have a basic estate plan? In more cases than not, the answer is “no.” The good news is that the summer months are the perfect time to enlist the help of an estate planning advisor to create a plan, as your child will be available to sign the documents before heading to school in the fall.
Here are the four critical estate planning documents college-bound students should have:
- Will. Although your child is still in his or her upper teens or early twenties, he or she isn’t too young to have a will drawn up. The will specifies the disposition of his or her assets and can tie up other loose ends of the estate.
- Health care power of attorney. With a health care power of attorney, your child appoints someone to act as his or her proxy or surrogate for health care decisions. Typically, a parent is designated as the attorney-in-fact for this purpose.
- HIPAA authorization. To accompany the health care power of attorney, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization gives health care providers the ability to share information about your child’s medical condition with you and your spouse. Absent a HIPAA authorization, making health care decisions could be more difficult.
- Financial power of attorney. This legal document enables you and your spouse to conduct financial activities on your child’s behalf. A “durable” power of attorney, which is the most common form, continues in the event that your child becomes incapacitated.