Sending an adult child off to college can be an exciting experience and is perhaps the first time that a parent really begins to see the child as an adult. Many college students keep ties to their parents in some way, like staying on a health insurance plan or sharing the cellphone bill. However, one often-overlooked area is that of estate planning for college students.
Although it might seem like this is the first break between parents and children in a legal sense, with your college student now managing many of his or her day-to-day affairs on their own, the law sees your child as an adult when he or she has reached age 18. This could lead to confusion and frustration if a medical emergency happens. As a parent, when the child achieves age 18, a parent loses many of the rights he or she had when the child was a minor.
A parent of an adult child, in most states, will not have access to basic details about the medical needs of the child. A parent can also be excluded from making important medical decisions about the child, too. Once a child reaches age 18, the law recognizes his or her ability to make medical decisions on their own. Thankfully, if this is not desired by you and the child, there are estate planning documents to address these concerns. At a minimum, you may want to consider a health care proxy, HIPAA release, and durable power of attorney.
To discuss your individual situation and which documents may be most appropriate, consult with an experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer now to learn more.