It’s August, which means that teenagers across Georgia are scrambling to pack up their belongings and purchase everything on their college checklist. Before your new college student heads to campus, there are some estate planning documents they should consider filling out. These documents will help them in an emergency and ensure that parents will have continued access to their children. With 250,000 young Americans aged 18-25 hospitalized each year, it’s a good idea to have these estate planning documents in place.

Advance Directive for Health Care

While college students are generally in pretty good health, you never know when an accident will happen or an illness will strike. An Advance Directive for Health Care is a legal document that memorializes a person’s health care preferences. This can include their wishes concerning treatment, care options, and medical testing. An Advanced Directive is only used if the person if unable to communicate their medical wishes, due to illness or capacity.

Medical Power of Attorney

As part of the Advance Directive, a person can designate a Medical Power of Attorney to help make health care decisions. A Medical Power of Attorney can speak to health care providers, make decisions about medical testing and treatment, and ask to look at an individual’s medical records. If a college student is 18 years or older, their parents may not be able to make medical decisions in an emergency situation, unless they have a court order. So, if the college student wants their parents to make medical decisions on their behalf, it’s a good idea to draft an Advance Directive and name a parent their Medical Power of Attorney.

Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables a designated person to act on another’s behalf in financial and legal matters. This can include managing bank accounts, credit cards, digital assets, property leases, and other matters. The person creating the Financial Power of Attorney can stipulate when the form goes into effect, such as on a specific date or only in specific situations. If a college student is incapacitated due to an illness or injury, their Financial Power of Attorney can help pay their bills, transfer money, or sign legal documents. If they do not have a Financial Power of Attorney in place, the court may appoint a conservator to manage their finances and legal issues, and that conservator may not be the student’s parents.

Have Questions? Contact Our Estate Planning Team

Heading off to college can be an exciting time. You want to make sure that your college student is prepared with everything they need and that you can continue to support them. Having these estate planning documents in place will ensure that parents can step in if there’s an emergency. If you have additional questions about estate planning documents for college students, please reach out to our team at Brian M. Douglas & Associates. You can reach us at (770) 933-9009 or via our online contact form.