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Estate planning for the teenagers in your family

The practice of planning for the untimely debilitation of a loved one isn't always left for an advanced age. Regardless of how old New Jersey family members are, it's never too early to create an estate plan for their future medical and legal security. This is especially true for sons and daughters about to venture into their first years of college.

Designing an estate plan for college-age children is important due to their situation. Eighteen years or older, these teenagers are legal adults, meaning parents don't have the same rights over their kids as they did when they were in high school. With the increasing amount of privacy requested by individuals and organizations, colleges may not inform parents if their child is injured while on campus. Since there is always the potential of serious accidents at either an in-state or out-of-state college, legal documentation is needed to enable the parents' participation in the process.

One of the most important documents in estate planning for college kids is the general durable power of attorney. Should the college-age student be incapacitated, this agreement permits parents to become involved in discussions and agreements with the health insurance company, hospitals and even the college. Another durable document, the medical power of attorney, allows parents to be involved in any medical choices for their child as well as request a second opinion on their condition.

Throughout New Jersey, law firms that deal with estate planning may be able to assist both parents and their college-aged children to prepare a program. By discussing concerns between the two parties, lawyers might prepare a series of forms that allow parents to make decisions when their children are unable while providing the independence their teenagers need.

Source: WXYZ 7 News, "Estate planning for your teenagers...what you need to do before there's an emergency", Joanne Purtan, July 03, 2013

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