Estate Planning for the High-School Senior

The senior year of high school is an exciting time that usually includes preparation for adult life after graduation. Although estate planning probably does not appear on most high school senior's to-do lists since they are young and healthy, executing a Health Care Directive and a financial Power of Attorney should be included on the to-do list after the student's eighteenth birthday.

Why are Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney Important for Eighteen-Year-Old Adults?

Before a child turns eighteen, parents generally have the legal authority to help the child with financial transactions, and to find out information and make decisions about a child's health care. Once a child turns eighteen, parents no longer have this legal authority unless their adult child chooses to specifically give it to them by executing a Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive.

Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives are two important documents for all adults to have. First, the reality is that accidents happen every day to people of all ages. Taking the time to prepare for the "just-in-case" scenario where you cannot manage your finances or make your health care wishes known can prevent difficulties for both you and your family members in the event of such an accident.

Second, having these documents in place can reduce frustration and simplify life for both parents and young adult children. For example, without these documents in place, parents may find that they cannot view an adult child's tuition bill, assist with an adult child's bank account, or find out information about an adult child's health care, even if the parents are paying the bills.

Please contact estate planning attorney Heidi Van De Berg ([email protected]), or any of the other estate planning attorneys at the Gries Lenhardt Allen law firm (763-497-3099), with your questions about Health Care Directives and financial Powers of Attorney or for assistance in getting your estate in order.

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