The Importance of Estate Planning for College Students and Adult Children

We’re often asked by parents if when their child turns 18 year old, and goes away to college, they will they be able to access information and make important decisions for their children when necessary.

Our answer is that while your child transitions into adulthood they may need your help with important financial and medical decisions, but they are legally considered an adult at 18 and have privacy protections that may limit your ability to get information and make decisions for them when needed. Healthcare industry privacy laws and financial institutions’ regulations make it imperative that a parent has proper authorization from a young adult child to access information and act on his or her behalf. The same legal constraints also affect parents’ ability to get academic information from colleges and universities.

It is very important for anyone over the age of 18 to have essential Estate Planning documents in place, especially Advance Directives such as a Health Care Surrogate and a Durable Power of Attorney. With these documents in place, parents can assist adult children with medical and financial matters in case they are not able to make these decisions for themselves due to an accident, illness, or if the adult child is inexperienced and asks for assistance.

With offices in Orange Park, Jacksonville, Julington Creek, and St. Augustine, our Elder Law Attorneys help young adults in North Florida create important Estate Planning documents that include a broad Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, and HIPAA release authorization.