Estate Planning for College-Aged Kids

Your child may have recently graduated high school and is now on a new journey as a new adult learning to navigate the world. That means a new level of independence they may not be used to. Unfortunately, that newfound independence may have its drawbacks. Your child may have difficulty navigating certain issues that can impact their life if not handled with care. 

As a parent, you want to offer as much help to your children as possible. However, that could be difficult if your child does not have a state plan including a health care proxy, durable power of attorney, and other parts of the planning process.

Fortunately, estate planning is not just for those of retirement age and older. If you and your child are navigating these new grounds, contact an attorney to learn more about your estate planning options. Your lawyer can help you through the estate planning process for your college-age kids and ensure that you can provide the support you want to provide as a parent. 

Why Should College-Aged Kids Have an Estate Plan? 

When you think of estate planning, you may think primarily of people preparing for their end-of-life care and their wishes following their death. However, estate planning does not have to be exclusive to end-of-life needs. It can also help provide the support parents want to provide to their college-aged kids as they start their first steps toward an independent life. 

As a college-age kid, estate planning means ensuring that your wishes are respected and that you have the support you need to make decisions about your life. That includes financial decisions, healthcare decisions, and even directives in case of a devastating accident. You may be in great health, but accidents can happen anytime.

This part of life can also come with a lot of turmoil. You may be going to college, starting a new job, or trying to start a family. However, during this time, you may be dealing with personal decisions about your future that you have never had to deal with alone. 

Once you turn 18, your parents lose their right to access your information. While this offers freedom for many people, it can leave you struggling to access information or make the right choices for things that your parents have always taken care of for you. Having an estate plan can help ease this transition from childhood to adulthood and give you the protection you need during this vulnerable time.

How an Estate Plan Can Help College-Aged Kids 

While you may have newfound freedom as you enter college age, that freedom comes with a price. You may no longer have easy access to support from your family. Your parents may no longer be able to access certain information, such as medical records or financial help. When this happens, you may feel alone and worried about making mistakes that can impact your future. 

An estate plan can help you avoid these situations and allow your family to provide further aid. Having an estate plan can help your family support you as you become a more independent adult and start your own independent life. 

So, what can you expect when you create an estate plan? Below are some steps you can put into place to support yourself and get the aid you need from your family to protect your best interests and ensure that they can help you navigate college, move out, and become an adult.

Giving Parents Access to Medical Information

Being on your own for the first time in your life may be an exciting prospect, but when your parents have handled your medical care for your life, it can also be scary and confusing. You may be unsure how to access your medical records, or you may simply be unsure where to go. 

However, once you turn 18, your parents lose the right to see your medical information. Under HIPAA, Your parents lose the right to see your medical information when you turn 18. 

Because of this, many people in the early years of their adulthood choose to seek power of attorney or a healthcare proxy plan for themselves and their parents. Giving your parents access to your medical records can help them help you get your immunization records, up-to-date physical exams, and other information you may need for your first job or college admissions.

Parental Access to Financial Information 

As you begin your journey through adulthood, you may deal with money more frequently and in ways you never have before. You may still be listed as a dependent on your parents’ taxes, but now you have student loans, a new job, or larger savings account options, such as an IRA account. That can be daunting without the guidance of a parent. 

When you need help with your financial decisions, you may have options to provide your parents access to your bank or other financial accounts. A durable power of attorney allows the designated person to make non-healthcare decisions for your future. That can be vital when deciding about student loans and other big expenses that impact your future. 

If you are concerned about making these big financial decisions on your own, or if you need help from a loved one to make these decisions, reach out to an estate planning attorney. Your lawyer can help you make plans that allow you and your child to make joint decisions or for you to guide their financial decisions as they enter adulthood.

Writing a Will 

While a will may seem like something to be created at the end of one’s life, making a will now at a young age can benefit your child. 

While they may be young and healthy, sudden accidents can happen, and they may lose their independence or life. Even if they do not have many assets to distribute to beneficiaries, having a will can give them control over what happens to their assets and their burial or funeral arrangements.

Making these decisions now may be difficult, but it can save heartache and allow your child to decide what happens following their death. Even healthy people can feel more certain with an estate plan in place, meaning their wishes will be observed and respected.

Reach Out for Help with Your Estate Plan 

Your child may be starting a new chapter in their life, a chapter of Independence and new opportunities. However, even college-aged kids may still need certain types of support and security during this time of change. That is where an estate plan comes in. 

To ensure you as a parent can offer support and guidance to help your child start their path through adulthood, you may need certain privileges and access to their information now blocked off. However, you and your child can work with an estate attorney at Germany Law Firm when you’re ready to build their estate plan. 

Being college-aged does not mean that you have to be prepared to be independent. If you are a parent trying to support your child or a new adult navigating these complex situations, contact an attorney to learn more about your options. Our team can be reached when you call or contact us through our online contact form.

Contact us to schedule your initial consultation.