With all of the details that require attention when sending a child off to college, it can be easy to forget that executing certain estate planning documents is also an essential part of the preparations. Nonetheless, failing to attend to this need can have dire consequences and so it is important that the task not fall off your to-do list.
Every individual who has reached the age of majority needs a basic estate plan as at this stage parents lose the automatic ability to intervene in financial and healthcare-related matters. This is especially true for college students who are often far away and navigating independent adulthood for the first time.
Essential documents that any Texan over the age of 18 needs include the following:
1. Texas Last Will and Testament
A Will determines how your assets will be distributed when you die. While young adults may not think they have enough assets to justify executing a Will, even simple possessions like sentimental objects count. What’s more, a bank account, basic investment portfolio, or vehicle are of enough value to justify taking a vested interest in determining where they end up should the unthinkable happen. Lastly, a Will is a living document that you update as your assets grow and so it makes sense to start early so that nothing is overlooked.
2. Texas Durable Power of Attorney
Unforeseen accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Should you fall ill or suffer incapacitating injury, you will want to know that a person has been appointed to manage financial affairs like paying bills, keeping up with rent, or managing important transactions while you are unable to do so. This document achieves exactly this. Parents of young adults will want to be especially sure that their child has a durable power of attorney in place so that they may intervene as needed.
3. Texas Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney, like its financial counterpart, allows you to designate a trusted loved one—usually a parent for young adults—to make decisions on your behalf. Unlike the above, this document deals with medical instead of money-related matters, of course.
4. HIPAA Authorization
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that prohibits just anyone from accessing your medical records or receiving your health information. A HIPAA Authorization allows you to grant a person this privilege. This document is especially important for students as health centers at any educational institution will require such permission before sharing any healthcare-related information with parents.
5. FERPA Authorization
Another permission essential for students, a FERPA Authorization is a document that grants named individuals the right to access student educational records. University health centers in some states require FERPA Authorization to release health records and so it is important to check with your institution to determine whether this is a document you need to sign.
To learn more about the estate planning needs of young adults and Texas college students, do not hesitate to reach out to the Hailey-Petty Law Firm either by calling (512) 910-8977 in Austin, (210) 570-2458 in San Antonio or by using the contact form on our website.