I remember when I finished up high school and was off to take on the world, move out of the house and go off to college. Graduating from high school and preparing for college is an exciting time. What I didn’t do, because no one told me, was Estate Planning. You see I went to college at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio which is about two and a half hours away from home. So, in the event that something tragic would happen to me, there wasn’t anyone there to make any health care decisions for me… good thing nothing happened to me.
Now when I went off to law school that was a different story. I was playing indoor flag football with the intermural team in Lansing, Michigan (6 hours away) I went up for a pass caught it and just fell to the ground. I thought someone had kicked my leg from under me, but in reality, I tore my Achilles tendon. I got up, couldn’t walk and hopped off the field. The next day my friend drove me to the hospital and the doctor wanted to do reconstructive surgery on my Achilles at the time I was 23 years old and my parents had called the hospital numerous time to find out how the surgery went, but they weren’t able to get any information. If only they had the following estate planning documents. …
- Healthcare Power of Attorney – is important to a young person’s estate plan. The HPOA names a person to make medical decisions if the individual is unable to make these decisions. The way it works is an agent is designated to work with doctors and other health care providers to try to provide the incapacitated person with the care that he or she needs.
- Durable Financial Power of Attorney – designates someone to make business and financial decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated. For older folks, this POA takes effect immediately and does not depend on incapacitation; however, for the student the language should indicate that it only takes place when the student is incapacitated.
- HIPPA Release – the third and vital part of your child’s estate plan should be a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”) release. By having a signed and executed HIPPA release, your child agrees that, in the event medical care is needed, medical personal may release information about the patients location and condition to specified individuals. Without such a release, parents face obstacles to even determine whether their child has been admitted to the hospital.
Most college aged children don’t have large estates or families to plan for, but they should have these three essential estate planning documents above. As a parent you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to be there for your child and have access to the information that you need. For more information about estate planning for your student feel free to call us at740.346.2899.