June is full of events that signify the change of life. One of those events is high school graduation. It is a milestone for high school seniors as they transition from following their parents’ rules to illusion of freedom that accompanies entering adulthood. They are celebrating this milestone with graduation parties. They look forward to cards full of money and gifts to adorn their college dorm rooms or first apartments. But have you thought of giving the gift of lifelong peace? 

Instead of giving cash or much needed dorm supplies, consider purchasing a gift certificate for a basic estate plan. Every college student or young adult should have these three basic estate planning documents: a durable power of attorney for finances, a patient advocate designation with HIPAA waiver, and a last will and testament.  

A durable power of attorney for finances will allow the young adult to designate a financially responsible adult to act on their behalf when they are unable to do so. This power designation will allow the agent to access bank accounts; deal with creditors; pay rent, utilities and credit cards; and manage loans, including student loans. The young adult will have a say before the need arises to appoint who they trust to manage their financial affairs when they cannot. 

A patient advocate designation with HIPAA waiver allows the young adult to designate a person to advocate on their behalf regarding healthcare decisions. This is a role parents fulfilled throughout childhood but no longer can legally do so once the age of eighteen is attained. With a properly prepared patient advocate designation, the young person can name a person or persons that they trust to fulfill this role when they are incapable of speaking on their behalf. The young person can provide directions on what actions to take if an injury or illness will likely result in death. The designated person will also be granted access to medical records, so informed decision regarding healthcare can be made on behalf of the young adult. 

A last will and testament will allow the young adult to direct the distribution of their estate upon their death. Many young adults do not think of what will happen when they pass away. Death is not within their immediate goals. But a last will and testament give the young adult a voice in what will happen to his personal belongings upon death.  

If you have a young adult preparing to head off to college or move into their first apartment on their own, give them the gift of peace. Purchase a gift certificate for an estate plan with an attorney who understands what a young person needs at the beginning of their life adventures. 

By: Linda Robbins – Administrative Assistant

The stressful year of having a child in their senior year of high school can really tax parents. Applying for college, getting accepted to college, getting their senior pictures, finding that perfect prom dress, the senior graduation party, and then finally commencement. Then you start shopping for all the stuff they will need for their college dorm room. There is so much to do, it is no wonder that parents are tired, but the day has arrived, and you are leaving your child behind in an unfamiliar place called a dorm room.

The next thing you know is you are getting a phone call from your child’s dorm mate saying that they took your child to the emergency room. You live 4 hours away. You try to call the hospital to find out about your child, but they refuse to talk to you because your child is over the age of 18. Your child is an ADULT and they can only speak to them.

Therefore, parents really should think about having a simple estate plan for their child that includes the will and powers of attorney. The powers of attorney gives the doctors permission to speak to the parents and the parents the rights to make sure that their child’s wishes are taken care of if something should happen to them.

I know from experience as my youngest daughter went off to college and ended up in the emergency room with mononucleosis. The hospital would not talk to us even though we had to pay the bill. I also had very dear friends whose daughter went away to college that was 4 hours away from where the parents lived. They received a phone call one night from a state trooper that their daughter had been in a very serious car accident and was no longer living. Now what do they do? They had no idea if their daughter wanted to be cremated or buried.

These are some of the reasons why parents really should think about getting a simple estate plan for their child as a graduation gift. So, if you are a parent getting ready to send your child off to college, paying for an estate plan should not be a cost you cut. Call Michigan Gun Law at (248) 676-8978 to schedule your appointment today!