TWO DOCUMENTS ALL COLLEGE KIDS NEED
Power of Attorney and Living Will
Once your son/daughter turns 18, seemingly simple tasks such as paying the tuition, dealing with health insurance, claiming them as dependents for tax purposes, and even transferring them money, can sometimes be insurmountable. Without the appropriate documents in place, a parent may need to seek court approval to act on behalf of a son/daughter.
As you pack up for your college student this fall, consider what you need in order to assist your son/daughter if they were to become ill, injured or disabled in some way. While unpleasant to think about, the risks are real. Accidents are the leading cause of death in young adults age 18-25.
After traveling out of the country over spring break, “Jane” developed a parasitic illness which landed her in the campus hospital. Jane’s parents frantically rush to her side, only to find doctors and hospital staff refuse to discuss their daughter’s condition due to privacy concerns. This could have been avoided if Jane had signed a Living Will / Health Care Proxy authorizing her parents to obtain medical information and make medical decisions in the event of an emergency. In the event of a catastrophic illness or injury, this document can further allow your son/ daughter to designate end of life choices if they should be in a state that is irreversible.
Your son/daughter should also consider signing a Power of Attorney. A power of attorney would allow your parent to deal with student loan issues, sign leases, transfer money, transact banking, negotiate bills, and many other tasks that may arise.
Although a parent is usually the best person to put in charge of legal and medical matters, if the relationship is strained or absent, your son/daughter may appoint a trusted aunt, uncle, sibling, or friend. Additionally, a second individual should also be appointed in case the first is unable to be reached or unwilling to serve.
As much as you plan and prepare your son/daughter to take care of themselves, there should always be an emergency fallback plan. These documents will allow for such emergencies.