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Kid going off to college? Why you need a health care directive

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Getting notice that a college approved your child’s admissions application is an incredible experience. The whole family likely wants to celebrate their achievements.

After you celebrate, you will have to start thinking about the practical implications of their higher education. There will be monetary concerns, as well as practical considerations like ensuring they have the resources necessary to live independently at college.

Although it may require some difficult conversations and financial investment, it is also important to think about the legal protections your child might need in an emergency situation. Creating an advance medical directive is an important step for any new adult heading off to college. 

Your right to help ends when your child becomes an adult

As a parent, you take for granted that you have the right to information about your child and may have a say in what happens to them. When your child turns 18, those legal rights shift dramatically. You no longer have the authority to make educational or medical decisions for your child. You can’t even access medical records without their permission.

An advance medical directive is a crucial protection for new adults who don’t have a spouse. An adult can explain their medical preferences in an advance medical directive. They can talk about everything from anatomical gifts like organ donation to life support preferences.

For a new college student, one of the most important considerations will be naming someone to act on their behalf in a medical emergency. Your child can pick someone that they trust implicitly, possibly you or your spouse, to have the right to discuss medical care with doctors and make choices about treatments if your new college student is left unconscious because of a car crash.

It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it

Most college students will make it through their education with no major issues. Statistically, the chances of your child needing involved medical treatment and being so incapacitated that they can’t speak for themselves is minimal. However, that situation arises, having the right protections in place will be crucial for your entire family.

Early estate planning once someone turns 18 protects the new adult and the family members who love them.