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5 Things to Take Care of Before Your Kids Go Off To College

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

August is Back-To-School Month. This is a time when many of you may be celebrating your children’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.​

Now, is the perfect time to execute your summer to-do list

1. Health Care Power of Attorney (Health Care Directive)
Every year, roughly a quarter of a million young adults between the ages of 18-25 wind up in the hospital. From car accidents to alcohol poisoning and unexpected illnesses, it’s important to remind you to prepare. Once a child reaches the age of 18, a parent’s decision-making role is significantly diminished, especially in regard to making healthcare decisions. Should your child get in a car accident, or fall ill and not be capable of making their own medical decisions, without a health care power of attorney you cannot act as their agent.

2. 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 their behalf, should they be unable to do so themselves. Should they become temporarily disabled for any reason, you'd be able to pay their rent, credit card bills, and utilities, access bank accounts and financial records, as well as manage any loans they may have.

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

4. FERPA Release
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is designed to protect a college student’s privacy, but it can also leave parents locked out in an emergency. A properly worded release can allow parents to talk to school officials and release pertinent educational records and information if needed.

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

Student with backpack.

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