Estate Planning Steps to Take When Your Child is Going Off to College

The start of summer is an exciting time, especially for children graduating from high school and going off to college. Through their childhood you no doubt took steps to ensure they would be taken care of if anything happened to you. However, now there are different steps to take to ensure they are taken care of if anything happens to them. What if your child is in an accident and unable to make medical decisions? A couple of simple estate planning tools can help make that situation much less frustrating and stressful.

A Legal Adult

As hard as it is for parents to admit sometimes, their child is considered a legal adult when he or she turns 18. While law enforcement usually seeks to contact the next of kin if an accident occurs, hospitals are not required to ask your permission prior to performing surgery or other medical treatments. In fact, medical professionals are not required to even share information about your child’s condition.

What To Do

Before heading off to school, your young adult can complete two simple documents, a health care directive and a HIPPA Authorization Form. A health care directive is a document outlining specific instructions about medical care. It details procedures you approve of and those you do not. Additionally, it allows you to appoint a health care surrogate or agent, a person that is authorized to make medical decisions for you. Having your child appoint you will give you the legal right to make medical decisions when they are not able to do so. The HIPPA form simply names you as someone who has permission to receive information about their medical condition.

Regardless of your age, having a healthcare directive is an important step to ensuring that your wishes are carried out if you are unable to communicate at the time of an accident. Ford+Bergner LLP is there to assist your family through life’s transitions. Let us help with all your estate planning needs. Contact us for practical advice tailored to fit your family’s circumstances.