Legal Documents Every College Student Should Have
As the dog days of summer start to fade into thoughts of fall, you realize that back to school will look radically different this year as your child is heading to college. It seems like just yesterday you were buying school supplies like glue and blunt tip scissors, and now it’s college era, with all the education planning included! So bittersweet – proud and nostalgic at the same time. You make a mental list of all the undertakings you have to do as you send your child on their way to the university. The prerequisite trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond to outfit their dorm room, pack the family car to full capacity, give the,” make good choices” lecture, tearful (on your part) goodbye in front of the dorm and finally trip to the lawyer’s office to get legal documents drafted…wait…what? Legal documents? Yes, no matter how many conversations you have with your friends about how the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25, the law says your teen IS an adult, with all the privacy rights that accompany adult status, at age 18. What that means is even as a parent if a tragic event befalls your child you may not be able to get timely information, make medical decisions, or even be able to address financial dealings for them in the event they cannot.
An estate planning attorney will be the best resource to advise the documents that you should have drafted to cover your child’s needs. I have listed the typical recommended legal documents and their purpose below:
- A HIPAA Authorization Form will allow parents to get information about their child’s health and treatment.
- This document lets a patient (your college student) designate family members, or others of their choice who can be updated about their medical info during treatment.
Health Care Proxy
- A Health Care Proxy, sometimes called a Health Care Power of Attorney or Durable Medical Power of Attorney, allows parents to make medical decisions on the child’s behalf if the child is unable to make such decisions due to being incapacitated.
- For example, this document would allow you to make the choice of who provides care to your child.
Power Of Attorney
- A Durable Power of Attorney would provide a parent with the authority to handle financial and legal matters on the child’s behalf if the child is incapacitated, traveling or deployed.
- The document would allow the parent to pay bills, file tax returns, terminate contracts and even apply for government benefits if you child is unable.
- Deal with landlords or creditors or your child’s behalf.
- If your child is attending a college out-of-state, it may be necessary to execute the forms in both states.
While none of these topics make for pleasant discussions with your teen, they are important for planning for unexpected events and are a great lesson of responsibility in early adulthood. Like packing an umbrella for a family outing in hopes you never use it, it is the same with these documents. You can sleep better knowing you have addressed this important issue and are navigating your child on their road to independence while ensuring you will be a trusted resource for them when they need it most.
These forms should be prepared and signed before the child goes off to college.
In some cases, the documents may need to be notarized and signed in the presence of witnesses who are not family members.
Now that’s all done – go about turning your child’s bedroom into your new yoga studio!
About the Author: Maggi Keating, CFP®
Maggi brings over 24 years of financial industry experience to her practice. Maggi values her client relationships and delights in her role as an educator to her clients, helping them create tangible goals for their financial life. Prior to joining FBB Capital Partners, Maggi spent 12 years at Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., specializing in assisting families and high net worth individuals and foundations. Maggi holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University and is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and a NAPFA associate with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). Maggi and her husband Pete, a retired Marine Corps Colonel, live in her native Virginia. As the parent of two children, Maggi is very active in their sports activities.
Important Disclosures: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by FBB Capital Partners [“FBB]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this commentary will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this commentary serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from FBB. FBB is neither a law firm, nor a certified public accounting firm, and no portion of the commentary content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the FBB’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request or at www.fbbcap.com. Please Remember: If you are a FBB client, please contact FBB, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian. Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. It should not be assumed that your FBB account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your FBB accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.