11 Jun 2015

When Your Child Leaves for College, Don’t Forget to Pack Their Estate Plan!

High school graduation season has once again come and gone. Now the newly graduated high school seniors are looking to their futures, and many have plans to attend college in the fall. This is a very exciting time for them – the first step into adulthood.  The checklist of things to bring with them to college will be a long one: computer, printer, school supplies, coffee maker, dorm supplies, beddings, etc.  Some items that students may overlook when setting-up their “what to bring to college” checklist are their estate planning documents.

Most high school graduates do not have their own estate planning documents, but they should.  When a person turns 18 in California, he or she is no longer a minor and magically gains all of the rights and responsibilities of an adult.  He or she now has the ability to contract, make health care decisions for himself or herself, and the right to make a Will.  Mom and Dad no longer have the authority to make these decisions for their child.

At a minimum, the high school graduate who has turned 18 years old should have a Will, a durable power of attorney for asset management, and an advance health care directive.  As most people know, the Will allows the maker to direct who will receive his or her assets upon death.  The durable power of attorney allows the principal to designate one or more agents to act on his or her behalf with respect to his or her assets should he or she become incapacitated. The advance health care directive allows the principal to name one or more agents to act on his or her behalf to make medical decisions should he or she become incapacitated and unable to do so.  Most importantly, the student may authorize medical professionals to speak with his or her parents to disclose health information should something happen to the student while he or she is away at college.  Without this authorization, the federal HIPAA laws prevent medical providers from disclosing a patient’s health information to third parties (including parents).

Remember, before sending your child off to college, don’t forget to pack their estate plan.

If you would like to discuss this or other trusts and estates issues, please contact the attorneys at Drucker Law Offices, 468 North Camden Drive, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, 310.285.5375 Tel, 310.444.9754 Fax, www.druckerlaw.com

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