It is never too early for an adult to implement an estate plan. The focus of a young adult, however, is much different than those of more senior generations. While the assets of a young adult may not always command intricate estate planning, strong consideration should be given to having your child prepare a health care proxy and power of attorney prior to leaving for college.
I would be willing to bet that only a small fraction of college bound young adults have a health care proxy, yet, the percentage who experience medical emergencies is far greater. Assume your child, while on or off campus, requires medical attention. Absent a health care proxy, the school or other medical provider may be unwilling to speak with you regarding her care. For instance, let’s say your daughter had an allergic reaction and you contact the school to find out the details. Legally, they are unauthorized to disclose your child’s medical information. A scenario like this could be avoided with a health care proxy.
From a financial perspective, college students have bank accounts and possibly small investment accounts. Suppose actions need to be taken on your child’s financial accounts requiring their signature or personal appearance while they are otherwise difficult to reach. A properly drafted power of attorney will make life much easier for both you and your child.
The above scenarios are simple, benign scenarios. Obviously, there are other real-life situations that your child could face, making the existence of these documents even more important.