Does your college student need a will?

When you send your son or daughter off to college, the last thing you’ll probably think of getting for him or her is a will.  But there are a few simple legal documents that any young adult should have.  Getting them takes a short time, and is definitely worth the effort. 

One such document is a medical power of attorney.  Once your student is a legal adult, you can no longer automatically make medical decisions for him or her.  You might still have a right to make those decisions for your children if they can’t make them for themselves, but a medical power of attorney makes it much easier to do so.

In some cases a medical power of attorney may prevent a court proceeding.  For instance, if a child is placed on life support, a parent without a medical power of attorney might have to go to court to make further decisions about his or her care.

Another document is a durable power of attorney.  If your child becomes ill or injured and cant make his or her own financial decisions, a durable power of attorney will allow you to make those decisions, as well as to sign checks and sell assets.  Without this document, you might have to go to court to do so.

Finally, a simple will is always a good idea.  Without a will, your child’s assets will be distributed according to state law, regardless of your or your child’s preferences.  If your child is living in another state, that state’s law might apply rather than your own.

Getting these documents for a young adult is a good way to introduce him or her to a new adult responsibility – just like driving a car, balancing a checkbook, or handling a credit card.

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