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The Importance of Estate Planning for College Students

power of attorneyIf you are about to send a child off to college, you’re probably extremely busy with shopping, buying textbooks, and dealing with other stressful tasks. But there is one more thing you should do to prepare your child; ask your son/daughter to sign a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy.

Here are two estate planning documents (which are more commonly associated with elder people,) but are also essential for younger people too. Without these two documents, in most states parent’s don’t have the authority to make health care decisions or manage money for their kids once they turn 18 even if they are paying the tuition, still  have those kids on their health insurance plans and claim them as dependents on their tax returns. This actually means if a young adult is in an accident and becomes disabled, even temporarily, a parent might need court approval to act on his or her behalf.

Listen to the story of Bradley J. Franc to truly understand the importance of these documents:

dropping kid off to college“Bradley J. Franc, a lawyer with Houston Harbaugh in Pittsb urgh, realized the importance of these documents about two years ago, when his son Alex, then 19, was a sophomore at Penn State. After Traveling to Mexico for spring break, Alex developed a severe intestinal bug that landed him in the college infirmary. Franc rushed to visit him there, only to find that doctors refused to discuss his son’s condition, citing privacy concerns. Although, their son ended up okay, you never no when you will be in one of these situations.”

How can you get children to sign these documents, especially if they are still in that teenage mindset of  thinking “Mom and dad have no idea what they are talking about?” Explaining the possible situations can help, or another tactic is to ask a lawyer to prepare a back-to-school package, meet briefly with you and your child and explain the importance of the documents. The money you will pay for this service could turn out to be a very comforting and good investment.

By Daniel Mayper – Guest Blogger

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