College students and their families are at an exciting and somewhat complicated season in their lives. Whether or not your child has plans of attending college, they more than likely have many hopes and dreams related to their adult life. While not every care and concern associated with adult life weighs heavily upon the shoulders of a young man or woman beginning on their eighteenth birthday, there are some adult responsibilities that even very young adults would be wise to attend to.
Estate planning is one of those responsibilities, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Now that your child is a legal adult, you as a parent no longer have legal rights in many of their affairs. That might seem like no big deal, especially since you want to encourage your now-grown children to become responsible and make wise choices. However, it could leave your family in a difficult position if your child becomes incapacitated through illness or injury and cannot manage their affairs on their own.
If an adult of any age has not signed a health care power of attorney or financial power of attorney, no one but they can manage their health or financial affairs right away, not even in an emergency. You could bring a guardianship proceeding and be awarded guardianship over your child so that you can make health care and financial decisions for them during the time that they are incapacitated. However, those proceedings take time and are costly. If your child is in a hospital and unable to make decisions about their care or pay their bills, a more timely way for you to be able to do those things is needed.
Estate planning is the way that your child can permit you to make those critical decisions for them if there is ever a need. A simple estate plan that contains a power of attorney, a health care directive and a living will can give you and your adult child a great deal of peace of mind. Since most eighteen-year-olds are not married, a parent is most likely their first choice for whom they would want to help them in a crisis. Most parents would be both willing and able to help their adult children in an emergency.
If you are a college student or a young adult, talk with your parents about your desire to make a basic estate plan. Parents of young adults, do mention estate planning to your children and support them in their efforts if and when they decide to take action. However, do not be tempted to use online legal forms or estate planning products to create your estate plan. Such products leave the user feeling like they have accomplished an important task, but your do-it-yourself estate plan may not stand up to your state’s legal requirements for estate planning documents. In some cases, using a do-it-yourself estate planning tool could lead to documents that are not valid and do not enable you to help your ill or incapacitated child. If you are a young adult who would like to start the estate planning process, you’re making a wise choice that will benefit both you and your family.
Work with a Kansas estate planning attorney to get started on your Kansas estate plan, and know that the plan they’ll help you make can grow and change with you throughout your adult life. Call Wichita attorney, J. Joseph Weber today, at 316-265-7802, or contact us on the internet to schedule a consultation.