On turning 18, children, especially college-bound students, should not be without the most basic estate planning documents. Since most of these young adults do not have large estates, a few simple documents are needed in the event they are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.
- Advance Health Care Directive / Living will. This is different from a regular will, a living will details what someone wants to happen if they become incapacitated. A living will might address such issues as what kind of medical care to give, when to start giving medical care, when to stop, and organ donation.
- HIPAA Release / Waiver. This document allows the release of medical information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). Information about an individual’s location and medical condition(s) can be difficult to obtain without a proper HIPAA Release / Waiver.
- Power of Attorney. Like trusts, powers of attorney come in different varieties. They give someone the legal power or authority to take action as the agent for another person. Those decisions can be on matters of money or health care, for example.
There are also the exceptional situations where a young adult may need more extensive estate planning, exploring the circumstances with an attorney is crucial to assuring that your estate plan includes the necessary documents and information.