Planning and preparing for the future often happens at pivotal moments in life. That is why many establish an estate plan when they marry, have children, retire, or are diagnosed with an illness. While these are common times to draft or update an estate plan, this does not mean these endeavors should only be undertaken later in life. In fact, the estate planning process can begin just as an individual is embarking on their adult life.
While the last thing on a college student’s mind is to draft an estate plan, this is actually an important time to begin one. An estate plan is not just for those who are wealth or elderly, but rather, it is a document that can outline what one’s wishes are if they are suddenly unable to care for themselves or make important decisions.
Once an individual turns 18, he or she is an adult and responsible for their health. Thus, drafting a healthcare plan could help the individual outline what his or her wishes are when it comes to important medical decisions. In these matters, it is likely that the college student is still under his or her parent’s insurance plan. This can make it vital to consider a HIPPA authorization and a medical power of attorney, as the former could allow healthcare information to be disclosed to a third party, and the latter can designate a person to make healthcare decisions in the event of incapacitation.
Another important document to consider is a durable power of attorney. This document could help a student’s parents step in to make important decisions for their adult child should the student become unable to make those decisions on his or her own. Whether it is healthcare decisions, financial transactions, or signing legal documents, this document can authorize a named person, such as a parent, to perform these activities.
No matter the cause or reason for establishing an estate plan, it is important that individuals and families understand the process and what it entails. A legal professional can guide one through this process, helping them understand the purpose of each document and what options they have when it comes to meeting their goals.