2 Estate Planning Documents College Students Need
By: Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
As hard as it can be to accept, once your children turn 18, they are legally considered adults. That means they are legally expected to make their own decisions for themselves.
Though your children may still lean on you for help in their day-to-day lives, once they turn 18, you have no legal authority to act for them. So, if you have a child leaving the nest this year, you need to seriously consider getting the following 2 estate planning documents college students need set up for your children.
(1) Durable Powers of Attorney
Durable Powers of Attorney are documents that allow a person over the age of 18 to name someone who can act on their behalf. They can choose someone who can have that power immediately. Or, they can choose for their agent to only act after they have been found to be unable to make decisions for themselves.
Your children are legally able to make their own decisions and act for themselves once they turn 18. So, you will need a Durable Power of Attorney to legally act for them if something happens and they can’t act for themselves.
If your children do not have Durable Powers of Attorney in place and something happens where they cannot make decisions for themselves, you will have to go to Court and ask the Court to appoint you Guardian over your adult child.
The Guardianship process is a lengthy one. First, you will be required to run background checks that you will provide to the Court. Then, you will have to prove your child is unable to make decisions for him or herself. Next, you will have to send notice to family members and serve notice on your child. You will have to attend a Court hearing. And, you will have to update the Court annually on your child’s condition and assets.
Trust me, it’s a lot. The last thing you or your family wants is to go to Court and deal with the costs and processes of Guardianship if you can avoid it. So, plan now and avoid the headaches.
(2) Advance Directives for Health Care
Another document all adults need is an Advance Directive for Health Care. This is the only document in Oklahoma that gives someone authority to withhold life sustaining treatment on another person’s behalf.
The Advance Directive takes you through a series of circumstances and asks what you would like to happen in those circumstances. The options are (1) give me all life-sustaining treatment, (2) give me only artificial hydration and nutrition, or (3) do not give me any life-sustaining treatment.
The next section of the document allows you to name a healthcare proxy who can make life-sustaining treatment decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself. There is another section that allows you to choose what, if any, organs you would like to donate for transplant or scientific research.
All adults need the incapacity planning documents discussed here. But, you should also consider Wills and/or Trusts for distributing your assets after your death. Find more information here.
If you would like to discuss these documents in more detail, contact us.