Estate planning important for college students

Estate planning is much more than just a will. Many people might think that if they have a will and a trust, they have all that they need in the way of estate planning. College students often don't have any estate planning documents. While they might have very little property, they still might want to consider having some essential documents made.

This is especially important because after the age of 18, parents aren't allowed to make medical decisions or receive information regarding their child's health without specific permission. What would happen if a child was incapacitated, and a parent wanted to make medical decisions for them? Just because a child is still dependent on their parent for tuition, rent and food doesn't necessarily mean they can access medical information.

Speaking with your child and encouraging them to set up simple estate planning documents might be a wise decision. This can help open the discussion about adult decision making and ensure that an adult child's interests are protected is something unexpected happened.

If a child doesn't have these documents made, a parent might have to take legal action, which can take time and money, to seek guardianship of a child. While it might be uncomfortable to talk about these situations, it is extremely important. A parent and child can sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney, who can explain what documents might be needed and how each document works. Preparing for the unexpected is a wise decision, no matter a person's age.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Why Your College-Age Children Need an Estate Plan," Anne Tergesen, Sept. 21, 2013.


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