Sending your child to college is an exciting time filled with new opportunities and challenges. While you’re busy helping them pack and preparing for the transition, it’s crucial to consider their well-being and future security. As a parent in California, ensuring your college-bound student has the proper estate planning documents in place is a responsible step that can provide both of you with peace of mind. Once your child turns eighteen in California, they become an adult, and your right to make medical and financial decisions as well as gain access to their information terminates. Here is what can be done about it.
1. Advance Health Care Directive: This document outlines your child’s healthcare preferences and designates a person (known as an agent or surrogate) to make medical decisions on their behalf if they’re unable to do so. It specifies their wishes regarding medical treatments and end-of-life care. Ensuring your child has a comprehensive Health Care Directive is essential, as it empowers them to make choices aligned with their values and ensures their medical decisions are respected.
2. Durable Power of Attorney: The Durable Power of Attorney is equally important for college students. This legal document gives someone they trust the authority to manage their financial affairs if they become incapacitated. This appointed agent can handle tasks such as paying bills, managing bank accounts, and making financial decisions on their behalf, especially when distance from home makes it difficult for your child to handle these matters themselves.
3. HIPAA Authorization: HIPAA Authorization is federally mandated. By signing this form, your child grants you access to their medical records and information. This becomes crucial if they cannot communicate their medical history or conditions due to an accident or illness. This authorization ensures that you can be informed about their health and be involved in their medical decisions when necessary.
4. Will: A basic Will is recommended even for individuals with modest assets. A Will dictates how their assets should be distributed after their passing. Regardless of the size of their estate, having a Will simplifies the distribution process and minimizes potential legal complications.
5. Digital Estate Plan: In today’s digital age, it’s essential to consider your child’s digital presence and assets. This plan outlines how your child’s online accounts, digital assets, and social media profiles should be handled in case of their passing. It also includes information on how to access these accounts, ensuring that their digital presence is managed according to their wishes. A Digital Estate Plan can be incorporated into their Durable Power of Attorney and Will.
Conclusion: As you prepare your college-bound student for this exciting new phase in their life, take notice of the importance of estate planning documents. A basic estate plan consists of a comprehensive Advance Health Care Directive, along with a Durable Power of Attorney, HIPAA Authorization, Will, and a Digital Estate Plan. A basic estate plan will help safeguard their well-being, assets, and digital presence. Taking these responsible steps now can provide both you and your child peace of mind, allowing them to focus on their academic journey while you can rest assured that their future is well-protected.
Please feel free to contact us at (877) 585-1885 to schedule your free consultation today or register for one of our free 2-hour workshops. Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. has offices in Westlake Village, Santa Barbara, Valencia, Ventura, Bakersfield, and San Luis Obispo, California.
Christopher E. Botti, Esq. and Board-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law.