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Legal Documents for Your Graduating Senior


If you are a parent with a child who will graduate from high school soon, now is a good time to start planning what documents the child will need moving forward.

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If you have a child who recently turned 18, you need to start thinking about the potential legal implications and how best to protect your child’s interests. Estate planning is not always about planning for death, but it is also about planning for unforeseen circumstances.

As we always tell our clients, estate planning looks different for everyone, depending on their stage in life and situation.

For a recent high school graduate, the estate plan that we recommend is incredibly simple, but incredibly important. This is especially true if your senior is heading off to college in the fall or moving away from home. You are no longer their legal guardian, but will still likely want to be involved in medical care and other decisions for your child.

For a recent high school graduate, we typically recommend they have the following documents in place:

  1. A HIPAA Release. If your child is injured or experiences a medical issue while away at school, it is essential that you have a HIPAA release in place so that you can have access to their healthcare information. A HIPAA release allows you to know what is going on with your child’s health and care.
  2. Medical Power of Attorney. This document allows you, or whoever your child chooses, to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. If your child is unconscious, you will likely want to be able to direct doctors for their care. This document will allow you to do so.
  3. Durable Financial Power of Attorney. A durable financial power of attorney gives an agent the power to make decisions on another’s behalf. This would allow a parent to manage assets and take care of financial matters, should their child become incapacitated. This means they could pay their bills, deposit their checks, etc.

We often pair the above documents with a simple will. This is not something most parents want to think about or discuss, but if something happens to your child out of state, having a simple will in place is helpful in settling any issues regarding the return of their property.

These documents will offer you and your child some peace of mind as your child leaves the nest. They will also be a great starting point for future estate planning, as we can build off existing documents as necessary to tailor their estate plan as their circumstances change.

We often recommend that concerned clients have a discussion with their parents to make sure that they are

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.

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