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5 To-Do Items For Our Graduates

May is graduation month. This is a time when many of us will be celebrating our children’s academic achievements, and even thinking about send them off to college. During this hectic and emotionally tumultuous time, too many us will be all-consumed with helping prepare our soon-to-be college student for the next phase, causing us to overlook important estate planning matters.

Now, is the perfect time to check off a few important matters from the to-do list as you plan you celebrate their graduation and prepare to send your children to college.

1. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Whether we like it or not, and regardless of how good a parent we are, every year, roughly a quarter of a million young adults between the ages of 18-25 wind up in the hospital. From alcohol poisoning and nonlethal accidents to unexpected illnesses, it is important that we hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Once a child reaches the age of 18, our decision making role as parents is significantly diminished, especially regarding making healthcare decisions.

Should a child get in a car accident, or fall ill and not be capable of making their own medical decisions, then without a durable power of attorney naming the parents as health care agents for the child, the parents cannot make medical decisions on their child’s behalf. If you want to ensure that they can continue to make healthcare decisions for your child, working with your child to create a health care power of attorney should be at the top of your to-do list.

2. HIPAA Authorization

In order to make informed medical decisions, it is important to include a HIPAA authorization form along with a health care power of attorney. Without it, parents would be unable to communicate with healthcare professionals and insurance companies, as well as access your child’s health records and previous treatment information.

3. Durable Power of Attorney (Finances and Property)

Similar to a health care power of attorney, a financial power of attorney gives parents the ability to make financial decisions on your child’s behalf, should your child be unable to do so himself or herself. Should the child become disabled for any reason, then you would still be able to pay your child’s rent, credit card bills, utilities, access bank accounts and financial records, as well as manage any loans they may have.

4. FERPA Release

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is designed to protect a college student’s privacy, but it can also leave parents locked out in an emergency. A properly worded release can allow parents to talk to school officials and release pertinent educational records and information should they need it.

5. Last Will and Testament

If you are like me, under no circumstance does this topic appeal to you as it relates to your children, especially as we considering them leaving home. It is, however, an important one to add to the list. A will allows parents to honor their child’s wishes on what should be done with their social media accounts, bank accounts, and personal assets. It also allows the child to specify any funeral arrangements they would like to have.

In our eyes they may still be our babies (and probably always will), but in reality, they are young adults, and their wishes should be considered, respected, and honored in the event of such an unfortunate circumstance.

Contact us at 301.892.2713, and let us help you and your child check off these important matters from the to-do list.

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