Back to school time is once again upon us. With the continuing spread of COVID-19, college campuses are either going fully virtual for classes or are opening campus with trepidation. Despite enforcement of CDC recommended safety precautions, no one can deny that going back to college this year has a new set of fears and potential dangers. To help bring you peace of mind as you send your college-age kid back to school, consider putting important estate planning documents related to health care in place for him or her.
Estate Planning Documents to Protect Your College Student
We forget that while we may always think of our sons and daughters as kids, once they turn 18, we lose legal rights to things such as accessing healthcare information and the ability to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. This means that, should they fall ill or be involved in an accident, you, as the parent, may not be able to know where he or she is being treated, what the diagnosis is, and what type of treatment is being administered. This is a scary thought, but putting legal protections in place can help you get access to this critical information should the need ever arise.
For instance, a HIPAA release will be important. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountable Act (HIPAA) release, when properly executed, is the patient agreeing that, should medical care be necessary, medical personnel are authorized to release information pertaining to his or her location and condition to specified individuals. Having a HIPAA release in place for your college student means that you will be granted access to vital medical treatment information should the need arise.
You should also consider having a health care power of attorney in place for your college student. If you are granted powers as an “agent” of a health care power of attorney for your son or daughter, you are authorized to make medical decisions on his or her behalf should he or she become incapacitated and unable to communicate these wishes. As the agent, you will be tasked with communicating with doctors and other medical professionals to provide your son or daughter with the care he or she would have wanted had he or she been able to communicate these preferences for himself or herself.
A living will is another important estate planning document that may be important to put in place for your college student. A living will outlines end of life treatment preferences should a person be found in critical status. Should a person have strong preferences for the type of treatment he or she wants to receive or not receive, a living will is especially important.
A springing power of attorney is also a valuable and protective legal tool. With a springing power of attorney, your college student can grants you the authority to conduct business and financial transactions on his or her behalf should he or she become incapacitated. This type of power of attorney does not come into effect until if and when the principal becomes incapacitated.
Minnesota Trusts and Estates Attorney
While you may have heightened anxiety this year about sending your college kid back to school, remember there are steps you can take to help protect his or her best interests. Consider putting protective measures in place such as important estate planning documents to help bring you all some peace of mind. Contact Unique Estate Law today.