Will your children be preparing for their first year of college later this year? You’re probably prouder than you can say, but you’re a little afraid, too. How can you make sure your child is going to be safe at school, so far away from home? A new Bed Bath and Beyond matching sheet set for the dorm sounds great, but it just doesn’t seem like quite enough, does it? So what else can you do?
Actually, there is something, probably not yet on your to-do list, that absolutely can make all the difference. Bring your child to a local estate planning attorney.
You’ve likely focused on the fact that, having graduated from high school, your child is an adult now—meaning that your child’s going to spread his or her wings. But what is essential to remember: At 18, a college student may still want their mom and dad at their side if they get sick, but legally, decisions for medical care are theirs alone. If your child were say, unconscious from a serious car accident, a parent couldn’t authorize medical care without first going to court. And it would be up to a judge if that child’s parents would be considered an appropriate guardian.
We don’t want to worry you, but the unfortunate reality is that, every year, some quarter of a million people between 18 and 25 wind up in the nation’s hospitals, according to Forbes, and their parents are often locked out of critical decisions.
Therefore, experts recommend that everyone over the age of 18 have a basic estate plan that includes a will or trust (whichever is appropriate for your situation), a power of attorney, and medical directives that would allow someone they trust to take act on their behalf, if they aren’t able to.
Here are some things to take care of before your child leaves for college:
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