Gentreo Life Events: How to Protect Your College-Bound 18-Year-Old

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young college student holding books and coffee cup

Sending your child off to college is both an exciting and stressful life event for all parents. There are so many things to take care of and conversations to have to prepare your child for that big transition into adulthood and higher education. While we may get our focus tied up on financial aid, finding housing, and preparing them for this new adventure, it can be easy to forget about some of the other extremely important steps that should be taken when your child goes to college. One essential step that should be taken is creating their estate plan. 

It may seem early and kind of premature, but if your child is 18 and headed to college, an estate plan can help to protect them in a lot of different ways. While a Will may not be as vital for a young person, accidents can happen everyday, there are some other vital documents that your child should have arranged prior to college. 

These documents are their…

In the event of an emergency situation in which your child is unable to make decisions for themselves, like a car accident, these documents save precious time, and ensure your child’s wishes are followed. . 

By helping your child create an estate plan before they leave for college, you can prepare them for the next step in their life, and for their whole lives. While we hope that they never have to utilize their estate plan during college, it can make all the difference if there was ever an emergency. 

According to a 2019 study by CDC.gov, accidents in vehicles are highest amongst people aged 16-19, with over 250,000 teens having been treated for accidents in 2019 alone. This means that early in college, students are at a higher risk of being in an accident, putting your child at higher risk during these beginning years when they may be far from home. In the event that they were in an accident, a proper estate plan would help protect your child and save you and your family time, money, and stress during these difficult times. We know that protecting your child is a priority, which is why Gentreo makes creating and updating your plan easy and affordable for everyone.

Steps to Take to Protect Your College-Aged Child

Create a Health Care Proxy

A Health Care Proxy is both an estate planning document and a person who you appoint to make all health care decisions for you in the event that you were incapacitated and couldn’t make those decisions yourself. This is perhaps one of the most important documents for your child to have when going away to college. After they turn 18, you can no longer make medical decisions for them, even though you’re their parent. In the event of an emergency, you want to have the power to help your child and make medical decisions without needing the court to appoint you to do so. If your child named you as their Health Care Proxy, you would have the right to uphold their medical decisions when they need it most.

Create a Power of Attorney

Similarly to a Health Care Proxy, a Power of Attorney ensures that someone you trust can make your financial decisions on your behalf if you were unable to make these decisions yourself. A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to pay bills and handle your finances, preventing you from financial risk while you are incapacitated. If your child could not handle their finances due to an injury or otherwise, it is important that someone is able to take control and ensure that they don’t fall behind on payments or any other financial needs they might have. Having a parent in this role can help ensure that everything is handled properly and without hassle.

Create an Emergency Card

An Emergency Card is a helpful estate document which lists all of your child’s medical information, emergency contacts, and any other information they might need to have available. It ensures that in any emergency medical situation, their essential information and wishes are present and accessible. This can save paramedics and doctors vital time, and can ensure that you know as soon as possible if something ever happened to your child.

Your child going to college is a huge life event for the both of you, and with it comes many life changes. At Gentreo, we know that protecting your child is the number one priority, and want to make sure that you have all the resources needed to ensure that you are both prepared for anything. Gentreo makes it easy and affordable to create, update, and store your estate documentation. With the Gentreo Digital Family Vault, everyone knows where to turn in the event of an emergency and instant access is always just a few clicks away. Sign up today to give your child the protection they deserve. 

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