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Estate Planning for College Students: 3 Legal Tools That All Students Need

Never has heading off (or returning) to college come loaded with so much uncertainty. This year, students need to worry about more than just building a balanced schedule, choosing the best professors, and compiling a list of all events that serve free pizza. As things stand, free pizza probably won’t be a thing…and even if it were, many students don’t yet know if they’ll even be heading to campus to partake in such essential educational experiences as scrounging for the cheapest eats (among other things).

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown everything from the economy to higher education into question, and it’s not looking like that uncertainty is ending any time soon. Even if this weren’t the case, it would still be essential that any departing college student have certain estate planning documents in place. But, especially in the present moment, it is vital.

Estate Planning for College Students: The Estate Planning Documents Every Student Needs

1. Durable Financial Power of Attorney
This document empowers the student to appoint a trusted loved one to communicate with financial institutions and academic institutions on their behalf. In making the appointment, the student articulates the sorts of permissions they wish to grant, meaning that in addition to added financial security, they gain the opportunity to think about their finances in adult terms.

2. Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney
Much like the above, this document empowers the student to appoint a trusted loved one to communicate with medical professionals on their behalf. Covid-19 presents the very real risk of leaving a person unable to express their own wishes concerning healthcare; accordingly, ensuring all adult in your family have filed a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney is vital, regardless of whether they are a student.

3. HIPAA Authorization Form
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. Like the above document, a HIPAA Authorization Form empowers the student to authorize a loved one to access medical and other personal information. The difference is that this form provides the option of extending this permission to multiple people. At a time when risk is widespread, having a Plan B, C, and D is only logical.

Though many families continue to deliberate on whether sending children back to college this year makes sense, this is no reason to delay on instituting the three documents just described. However far-off September may seem, we promise that by the time it arrives, you’ll have much more than estate planning on your mind. Attend to this essential task now and lighten your load, lest it become too much to bear later on!

Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm

Contact us for more information on how to get started with estate planning for college students. We’ll explain the entire process and help you get the appropriate documents in place so you and your family can start college worry-free.

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