College students: You need to be thinking about estate planning

College is one of the first steps into adulthood for many young people in Lake Charles. From living by oneself to navigating things like grocery shopping and laundry, college students may feel like they already have enough on their plates. However, these young adults often overlook one of the most important things that an adult can do -- create an estate plan. Estate planning might seem like something that only older adults need to worry about, but virtually everyone can benefit from creating three essential documents.

Parents have the legal ability to make medical decisions on behalf of minor children. While young adults might be happy to take charge of their health care, they often forget to think about what will happen if they cannot make those decisions. This type of situation is usually when a person is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. That person's parents might be able to make decisions, but there is no guarantee. Parents will not be able to access relevant medical data because of HIPPA, which protects patients' medical information.

This situation can be easily avoided with a health care power of attorney. This is an estate planning document that allows someone to name a specific person who can make medical decisions on his or her behalf if needed. Creating an accompanying HIPAA authorization document will give that person access to important health information.

A durable power of attorney is the third estate planning document that all young adults should seriously consider. These documents can be used to give another person the ability to do a number of things. This includes things like managing finances and signing legal documents when the creator of the power of attorney is unable to do so.

Lake Charles parents often feel uncomfortable sharing financial or end-of-life information with children, so young adults do not always understand just how important estate planning is. This may also be because creating an estate plan is frequently associated with passing on inheritances and not much else. In reality, even college students should strongly consider estate planning and evaluate which documents best suit their unique situations.

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