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3 estate planning documents every college student needs

On Behalf of ZM Law Group | Sep 2, 2021 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is not just a subject to address for young adults establishing their careers, new parents, empty nesters and seniors. Surprisingly, it is a topic that recent high school graduates bound for college should take seriously, too. What? Really? Yes.

Adapting to a new city and challenging courses along with meeting new people and weekends with friends often come to the forefront for some college students. Meanwhile, estate planning may be among the last things on their minds. Well, you planned for college. Now, it is also a good time to plan on getting certain aspects of your life in order, too, just in case something irreversible happens and you no longer can care for yourself or make important decisions.

Medical and durable power of attorney

But, before we get any further, certain matters must be clarified. As a Maryland resident, you must understand that your estate planning directives remain in place even if you attend college out of state. Your directives only have to conform to Maryland law rather than the laws of another state.

Before heading off to college, students should have certain legal documents in place that will make matters easier for parents to help their children in case of medical emergencies. This trio of legal documents can help:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization: Due to this federal act’s privacy rule, parents of college students do not have the legal right to obtain their adult children’s medical or health care information. A HIPAA authorization allows for providing such information to a third party such as a parent.
  • Medical power of attorney: Such a legal document lets a person name an agent — another person such as his or her parent – to make decisions about their health care. This comes into play if the student becomes incapacitated due to an unfortunate incident such as a car collision and he or she falls into a coma.
  • Durable power of attorney: This crucial document allows another person to make financial decisions such as paying bills, managing bank accounts and signing legal documents.

Packing up the car and traveling to your new college destination is not the only thing you should do when heading off to your new school. You are an adult now, so it is crucial to understand certain responsibilities that come with adulthood. That includes aspects of estate planning.

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