People often assume that estate planning is something you don’t have to worry about until you’re at a stage of life where you have children to protect or are preparing for your final years. However, many of the critical components of an estate plan are just as essential for young adults as for older ones.
Here are some important documents to consider as your children head off to college or embark on life as independent adults.
Health Care Surrogate Designation
Illness or injury can strike anyone regardless of age. If a young adult is unconscious or incapacitated, a health care surrogate designation would allow someone they trust to make health care decisions and authorize medical treatment on their behalf.
Financial Power of Attorney
While a health care surrogate designation allows an agent to make health care choices for someone who is incapacitated, a financial power of attorney enables an agent to handle money matters such as paying bills or handling any legal matters. If your college student was in a car accident and heavily sedated, what would happen? If bills go unnoticed and unpaid, they could lose utility services and their credit record could be destroyed.
If instead, they authorize you as an agent, then you could handle any financial, legal, or business affairs on their behalf. In Florida, a power of attorney is effective immediately. Hopefully, once it is created, it will never be needed. But it is better to be prepared just in case an unexpected event occurs.
Medical Information Release
Privacy laws such as the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) severely restrict medical offices in their ability to provide information to anyone other than the actual patient. This can be problematic for college students and young adults who are still covered by their parent’s insurance plans.
When a young adult executes a medical release form, they can authorize a parent or someone they trust to discuss treatment and medical issues, help with insurance and billing, and assist in other ways.
It is a horrible thought to contemplate, but the reality is even worse without preparation. If your young adult were suffering from a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or be in a persistent vegetative state and unable to communicate their desires for medical treatment, having a living will gives them a voice. They can specify in advance whether they would want certain life-prolonging measures. A living will ensures that their wishes will be honored and it saves families considerable uncertainty and anguish.
Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney to Protect Your College Student or Young Adult
Estate planning prepares you to meet whatever the future holds. To help protect the young adult in your life with essential estate planning documents customized for their needs, contact the experienced team at Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A.