Essential Legal Documents Every 18-Year-Old Needs Before College

June 25, 2024
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Amidst the sunshine and summer adventures, it's easy to forget that college is just around the corner for many students. However, before the whirlwind of classes and activities begins, take a moment to prioritize safeguarding your child's future by securing the four essential documents every college student should have in place. It is never too early to begin planning and discussing these topics with your young adult children. Proper planning can provide peace of mind and protection in unforeseen circumstances. 


What are the Four Essential Documents?


  1. Health Care Proxy: A health care proxy allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your child's behalf if they become unable to do so. This is especially important for young adults living away from home, ensuring that someone they trust can advocate for their health care preferences in emergencies.


  1. Last Will and Testament: While it may seem morbid to think about at a young age, having a last will and testament is essential for outlining how they want their assets to be distributed in the event of their death. This document ensures that their wishes are followed and can prevent potential conflicts among family members.


  1. Power of Attorney: A power of attorney grants someone else the authority to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so. This can be invaluable for handling important matters like paying bills, managing bank accounts, or signing contracts, especially for college students who may be studying abroad or living far from home.


  1. Living Will: A living will specifies their preferences for end-of-life medical care if they are unable to communicate your wishes. This document provides clarity to you, your loved ones and medical professionals about the type of care they want to receive or avoid in critical situations.


Beware of Online Self-Service Sites:

While it may be tempting to use online self-service sites to create these documents quickly and affordably, it's important to proceed with caution. These sites often lack the personalized guidance and legal expertise needed to ensure that the documents are tailored to your specific needs and compliant with state laws. 

When faced with a legal emergency, or need to put these documents into action, who can you turn to for assistance? Without the support of a trusted legal advisor, navigating complex legal matters can be daunting and overwhelming. 


The Importance of Professional Guidance:

Working with an experienced elder care law and estate planning attorney ensures that your essential documents are properly drafted, customized to your individual circumstances, and legally enforceable. Additionally, having a trusted legal advisor provides peace of mind knowing that you have someone to turn to for guidance and support when needed. That extra care component goes a long way. 

As young adults embark on their journey into adulthood, taking proactive steps to establish all four of your important legal documents is essential for protecting their health, assets, and wishes. While online self-service sites may offer convenience, they often lack the personalized service and legal expertise needed to ensure comprehensive protection. By working with an experienced elder care law and estate planning attorney, young adults can confidently navigate the legal complexities of adulthood and face the future with peace of mind.

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