As July starts to wind down and look forward to August, parents of recently graduated high schoolers turn their attention to the college checklist. Sheets and bedding for the dorm room, a small refrigerator, laptop computer, supplies, etc. are a few of the items appearing on the list of things to get ready to go. And these are important, needed things. But are your college student's legal documents on your list?
At age 18 or older, your college student is an adult. That means adult responsibilities as well as being treated as an adult in the eyes of the law. But what does that mean?
College students should make sure that they have set in place some basic legal documents in the event of a tragedy, an extended illness, or incapacitation,etc. Here are some basic documents that each college student should consider:
* Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare. This is essentially Georgia's version of a living will. Among other things, this document lets the student designate someone to be his or her healthcare agent to make medical decisions for the student if the student is not able to make them for himself or herself.
* Durable Power of Attorney. This document appoints someone to be the agent of the student either immediately, or upon the happening of a future incapacitation, so that the agent can act in the place of the student when needed. This can often be helpful for registration of car tags, payment of taxes, handling of bank accounts, and other items while the student is away at school, but can also be of great importance should the student suffer an extended illness or incapacitation and not be able to manage his or her affairs personally.
* HIPPA Release. If a parent needs access to the student's medical records and need to communicate with medical staff treating the student, a HIPPA release form may be necessary so that personal, confidential medical information can be shared.
* Passwords. While this is not a legal document, it is a good idea for the student to make sure that he or she has a written list of internet accounts and passwords so that they can be accessed if needed, in a manner agreed upon by the student and parent. So much of our personal lives and business dealings are online, and knowing how to access online bank and brokerage accounts, insurance contracts, bill pays, facebook, twitter and other social media sites, as well as computer hardware (think laptop password) may be necessary in the event of an emergency.
This is the basic college student legal checklist that I recommend as a good starting point for all students. The good news is that these documents are simple to complete, and are affordable. So, it doesn't make sense to skip out and not to the planning. In some situations, a student may need more legal planning, to include a last will and testament or other document.
If you need more information on legal planning for college students, or wish to schedule an appointment to have your documents prepared, contact The Beck Law Firm, LLC today.