Estate Planning For Recent High School Graduates

As your child is dressed in their cap and gown and receiving their high school diploma, you likely have many thoughts in your head – pride; accomplishment; the passing of time; and your child’s future.   

One thing that you are likely not thinking about is estate planning.  However, estate planning for recent high school graduates is extremely prudent...

Estate Planning For Recent High School Grads

As your child is dressed in their cap and gown and receiving their high school diploma, you likely have many thoughts in your head – pride; accomplishment; the passing of time; and your child’s future.   

One thing that you are likely not thinking about is estate planning.  However, estate planning for recent high school graduates is extremely prudent.    

The age of majority in the United States for making one’s own medical decisions is 18.  College represents the first time that most children will be without direct parental supervision.  Just like any other adult, college students should have legally enforceable instructions in place to authorize who can make medical and financial decisions for them in the event of a hospitalization or incapacity.   

In all likelihood, a recent high school graduate may not have sufficient financial assets that would necessitate having a will or trust in place.  However, there are other estate planning documents that would be very advisable to have once your child turns 18.   

Say your child has an accident and ends up in the hospital?  Will the hospital accept your call?  There are HIPAA rules in place that may prevent the hospital from confirming whether your child has even been admitted.  

This is why having executed estate planning documents such as a Power of Attorney and a HIPAA authorization form is so important.  These tools will give you the peace of mind that you are authorized to make the medical and financial decisions for your “new” adult.  You will be able to communicate with hospitals and doctors.  Additionally, they will authorize banks and financial institutions to grant you access to your child’s accounts.   

At the same time that you are creating an estate plan for your child with some key estate planning documents, it is a great time to either update (or establish) your own estate plan.  Now that your child has become an adult, you may want to amend your will, trust, Power of Attorney, health care proxy, 529 plan, insurance plan or IRA. Keep in mind that there is probably no longer a need for a guardian for your child, and your estate planning portfolio should be updated to reflect this change.   

Late spring/early summer is a great time to get your family’s estate planning in order, before August rolls around, and your child is packing up to start life as a college student. You should make sure that the right documents have been executed and that you have a copy of them, so you can continue to care for your child’s needs once they are no longer living at home. 

 

    Wolfson and Klein-Wolfson, PLLC. is a Syosset (Long Island) based law firm with experienced employment law attorneys that can help you understand your rights when dealing with discrimination, and advise you of legal options for filing a complaint or lawsuit.  Kindly contact us for a free consultation to discuss your specific circumstances.   

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