Preparing For Your Child To Head Off To College

Jul 2018


It’s hard to believe that the 4th of July holiday is behind us. Before you know it summer will turn to fall. When it’s this time of year it reminds me that parents with children getting ready to go to college need to make sure to do some things with regard to personal finance that are important. One of those areas that I think is extremely important is with regard to powers of attorney.

I know many of you may not think so, but when your child is ready to go to college they are at least 18 years of age; which means that they are a legal adult. As a legal adult, not only do they have legal responsibilities, but as the parent, you find that your rights are dramatically diminished. In that regard, two documents that I strongly recommend obtaining are a medical durable power of attorney and a general durable power of attorney. From a medical standpoint, if something happens to your child when they’re away at college, as the parents, you have no legal rights. I’ve heard many stories where a child has a medical issue and the parents are kept in the dark. I’ve heard horror stories where children are injured at school and the parents are forced to go to court to get medical information. The last thing anyone should want to do is to go to court when there is a medical emergency. Therefore, before your child goes away to college, you should make sure that they sign a medical durable power of attorney.

With regard to a medical durable power of attorney, you don’t have to pay anyone to do it. You can do it on your own. I have a free fill-in-the-blank form available to print on my website. It’s a very simple and straightforward form and I recommend it not only for parents with a child going away to school, but also if you have any adult children that are still your dependents. Remember, we live in a crazy world and just because you’re the parent and you provide the financial support for your child, doesn’t mean you have any rights.

Another type of power of attorney that you may wish to obtain for your college student is a general durable power of attorney. This type of power of attorney will allow you to handle your child’s affairs above and beyond medical. It could be dealing with a financial institution or even with their university. Once again, if there was some sort of accident and your child could not handle their own affairs, having a general durable power of attorney would allow you to step in without getting judges, courts and lawyers involved.

When I went to college, probably the most expensive thing that someone would have would be a cheap stereo. Today, that is no longer the case. Kids have computers, cell phones, iPads and all sorts of valuable stuff. The question is whether or not you need insurance on these items. Now is a great time to talk to your homeowner’s agent to see if those types of items are covered.

Sending a child to college is not as easy as it used to be. That is why now is a great time of year to do the things that are needed so you’re not rushing at the last moment. I know with these temperatures it’s hard to believe that Labor Day is only a little over a month away and that before you know it, you’ll be packing up your loved one for college. Consequently, there is no longer time to procrastinate; the time to get it done is now. Good luck!


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