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Co-parenting tips for your college-age child’s estate plan

Before your child heads off to college, you will probably do everything you can to help them get ready. You’ll help them pack clothes, furniture, books and a wide array of other items to help them feel comfortable and do their best. But did you remember to pack their estate plan?

In the tumult of a move, you might forget about those essential documents. It might be extremely complicated to arrange for these documents with your co-parent.

However, in the event of an emergency, the following documents can help your child and your loved ones make important financial and medical decisions:

  1. Power of attorney: Discuss with your co-parent and child about who they would like to take legal action over their finances and property. They could name one parent as the “attorney” and the other a successor, but they should make every effort to clarify their choice.
  2. Health care proxy: Your child will have to choose who they would like to make medical decisions for them. They might choose their parent of the same gender, rather than their main guardian.
  3. HIPPA waiver: This document entitles a named person to have access to your child’s medical records. This might be the same person or another person than the health care proxy.
  4. Will: This could be a simple document where your child chooses a person to inherit their assets, such as their college savings account. Parents are often executors and siblings are often the beneficiaries of a young person’s estate.

It might also be a good idea for your child to have a copy of their birth certificate, passport, drivers’ license and other important medical documents or contact information. Be sure they keep these documents in a fireproof safe and that they store the safe in a private, secured place.

If you take the time to start your child’s estate plan with your co-parent as part of preparing them for college, your family can move forward with peace of mind.

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