What Should be on Every College Student’s Back-to-School List, but Probably Isn’t

//What Should be on Every College Student’s Back-to-School List, but Probably Isn’t

What Should be on Every College Student’s Back-to-School List, but Probably Isn’t

Heading off to college soon or sending your child off in the coming weeks? The back-to-school season is in full swing and many parents are preparing for their child to go off to college. Students and their families have carefully selected the university of choice that the student has worked so hard to be accepted to. Countless stores are advertising colorful bedding and accessories for the perfect dorm room setup. You or your child may think that he or she is all set to go! College freshman will be learning and meeting people from all over and having new experiences, beginning their adult life.

What may surprise you is that, as an adult, the average college freshman needs some basic estate planning documents. Estate planning for an 18 year old? That’s right, a college student is an adult, which comes with new-found responsibilities. While you or your child may not have much in the way of assets and a will may not be necessary, there are still some other basic estate planning documents that are absolutely essential.

One of these important documents includes a health-care proxy. That means that if, in an unexpected turn of events, a child were to get sick or hurt and need medical treatment that a parent will be able to make medical decisions for him or her if he or she cannot express their wishes. The student should also have a HIPAA (Health Care Portability and Accountability Act) release form so that their parents can get even the most basic medical information about their child. Without this form, the medical staff treating you or your child will not be able to release any information to a relative. If a child were to be unable to communicate, the parents may actually have to start legal proceedings and have a court appoint them guardians in order to be able to make medical decisions! All this frustration can be saved with some basic estate planning.

Even if there is not an emergency, estate planning can be useful simply for conveniences. Children with a strong relationship to their parents may want them to take care of paperwork, deal with their landlord, sign their lease, etc. A parent, or any another trusted adult, will need a power of attorney granting him or her the proper authority. College students may sometimes be hesitant to give this authority to their parents because they feel that they are adults, however, in many cases a gentle reminder that their parents are still there for them emotionally and financially (tuition, health insurance, etc.) may help them to remember that they are still transitioning and will very likely need their parents in their corner for a few more years.

By | 2017-01-13T15:44:58+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Estate Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Deborah E. Kaminetzky is the founding member of Kaminetzky Law & Mediation, P.C. located in Cedarhurst and Garden City, New York. Prior to starting the firm Deborah worked at a Long Island firm where she learned the practice of Matrimonial and Family law and Estate Planning. Deborah has also worked at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs where she was responsible for prosecuting unlicensed home improvement contractors and negotiating settlements for consumers. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Kaminetzky was the president of a commercial property management corporation in the New York Metro area. Ms. Kaminetzky is a member of the American Bar Association (General Practice, Solo and Small firm Division and Law Practice Management Sections), National Association of Divorce Professionals, New York State Council on Divorce Mediation, Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, New York State Bar Association (Business Law, Estate, Family Law, ADR and General Practice Sections), Nassau County Bar Association (where she serves as Vice Chair of the General, Solo and Practice Management Committee, and is active in the Community Relations and Education Committee) and The Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. Ms. Kaminetzky was appointed to the Committee on Law Practice Management of the New York State Bar Association in 2015 and has been a frequent speaker and author of articles for their journal. Ms. Kaminetzky serves on the Board of Directors of the Yashar Attorney and Judges Chapter of Hadassah as a their Treasurer, and was their Woman of the Year 2012. Deborah graduated from New York Law School in 1991 and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1986. Ms. Kaminetzky was admitted to the First Department in 1991 and the United States Supreme Court Bar in February of 2015. Deborah is on the Matrimonial fee dispute arbitration panel for Nassau County. She expanded her alternative dispute resolution practice by completing a Mediation certificate program in December of 2013, an advanced Mediation certificate program in 2015 and most recently a Divorce Mediation certificate in early 2016 from The New York Peace Institute. Ms. Kaminetzky has spoken to various groups on topics including matrimonial law, technology and social media use, and disaster preparedness for business including cybersecurity.