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Estate planning for college students' future health concerns

In Chester, Pennsylvania, most people spend their lives working to make a living and essentially, to provide a comfortable standard of living for their loved ones. Once people become middle aged, those people usually start to think about old age and estate planning for themselves, and particularly, for their elderly family members.

However, people who are in their 40s and 50s or older tend to forget something important when they form an estate plan. And that is, their own college-age children. As the start of a new school year is approaching, it is time for those parents to reconsider this growing issue. Readers should take notice that once their children turn 18, parents are no longer entitled to see their children's health records and decide about their medical treatments unless they take certain estate-planning steps first.

Although it may sound unusual to ask young people to do estate planning, it is naturally easier than the kind of process that most couples with considerable assets would go through. This can prevent young parents from having to request a court to appoint them as legal guardians in case an accident leaves their child unable to communicate.

According to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, once a child turns 18, their health records are now between them and their health care provider. As a result, residents of Chester, Pennsylvania, may come across difficulties before gaining access to necessary information. This may prove to be a problem during emergencies as children who are aged 18 or above usually do not live with their parents.

To prevent such problems, residents of Chester, Pennsylvania, may ask their children to make an estate plan that includes a durable power of attorney. This power of attorney may designate these parents as conservators for the children's health decisions. The parents may wish to consult a legal professional to learn about the details regarding estate planning concerns, especially when it comes to their children.

Source:, "Why your kids need their own estate plan," Anne Tergesen, Aug. 6, 2013

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