Legal Planning for College Students

May brings graduation season. And soon thereafter, newly graduated high school students head off to college, trade school, or to start a career and begin new adventures. But for most of these grads, at 18 years of age, they are an adult in the eyes of the law, and Mom or Dad don’t automatically have the ability to jump in and help should a need arise.

Unfortunately, in some situations an 18-21 year old or so (and older) may need Mom or Dad (or someone else) to be able to help manage their finances if they become incapacitated, or to be able to communicate with doctors, hospitals, and medical teams to make healthcare decisions for their son or daughter. And the young adult (and mom and dad) can’t just think that this can happen automatically, especially when dealing with hospitals and medical offices thanks to the HIPPA confidentiality provisions. To make sure that the young adult has the right people in place to be able to manage his or her finances and personal business, and to make medical decisions for him or her, we recommend using two of Georgia’s foundational estate planning documents:

1. A Durable Power of Attorney lets the young adult appoint someone to be his or her agent, and manage financial and legal affairs either immediately, or upon the incapacitation of the person.

2. A Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare lets the young adult appoint someone to be his or her healthcare agent, to make healthcare decisions for the young adult if he or she cannot make them due to incapacitation.The ADH also lets the young adult explain their treatment preferences to give guidance to the healthcare agent.

Generally, most young adults heading off to college or technical school, once they are 18, need these important documents in place.The good news is that they are easy to complete when working with an experienced estate planning law firm.If you have questions about how to make sure your new graduate is protected, give us a call to discuss.

And, this is a good time for Mom and Dad to check their estate planning documents as well. If they don’t have a good ADH ( prepared since 2007) and a Durable Power of Attorney (prepared on or after July 1, 2017, in accordance with Georgia’s revised POA laws), no time like the present to make sure you get your ducks in a row too!