Estate planning isn’t just for older individuals. Ideally, your child should start thinking about estate planning as soon as they turn 18. The first step to take is for high school graduates in Massachusetts to start obtaining these essential estate planning documents:
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
With a durable financial power of attorney, your child gives you the authority to access and manage their finances and legal matters, including:
- Paying the tuition for an advanced degree
- Applying for student loans
- Communicating with education institutions
- Managing their bank accounts
- Paying their rent
- Negotiating or re-negotiating a lease
- Collecting Social Security and other government benefits
Without a durable financial power of attorney, you’ll need to petition the court to grant you such legal and financial power. Durable powers of attorney can be permanent or valid for a specified period of time only.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy, is one of the fundamental estate planning documents for high school graduates in Massachusetts. This instrument enables you to make health care decisions on your child’s behalf if they are incapacitated or unable to decide for themselves.
Without a medical power of attorney, you’d need to petition the court to become your child’s legal guardian to access their medical records or make decisions about their treatment. While parents are usually the court’s first choice for guardians, the guardianship process can be costly and time-consuming.
Make sure that your child’s health care proxy contains a HIPAA release or waiver. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 forbids healthcare providers to disclose personally identifiable health information without the patient’s consent. This includes information about their physical and mental health, treatments, payments, and more. A HIPAA waiver ensures you’ll have immediate access to your child’s information in a medical emergency.
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament contains instructions for disposing of your child’s property when they pass away. Because young adults usually own minimal assets, naming beneficiaries on their bank accounts may be all you need to do. If your child has personal property like jewelry or collectibles they want to leave to specific people; they can include this in their last will and testament as well.
Contact a Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney Today
Estate planning can be complicated but needn’t be stressful. At Jordan & White, we can draft all essential estate planning documents for high school graduates in Massachusetts. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with an estate planning attorney in Danvers, MA.