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Parents of College Students: Add These Two Crucial Estate Planning Documents to the Send-Off Checklist

For parents of college students, sending a child to school is as exciting as it is stressful. Parents can put their minds at ease by having their student sign estate planning documents before they head to school.

College students are legally adults at the age of 18 and with that title comes a new set of rules regarding parental access to medical and personal information. Obtaining a Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Health Care in the family’s home state helps prepare students should something unforeseen happen away from home.

Power of Attorney for Property

A Power of Attorney for Property, also known as a Real Estate Power of Attorney or Financial Power of Attorney in other states, allows the student’s parent(s) to act on their behalf regarding personal property, living situations, banking and investments, insurance transactions and a host of other issues.

Being a co-signer on a lease does not necessarily give parents the right to deal with the landlord, and technically, the student is responsible for the tuition payments even if their parents sign documentation indicating they will make payments. Additionally, students are responsible for mischief that they may get into at school, on and off campus. 

The only way parents may be able to help their children in these situations is to have Power of Attorney for Property. Hopefully, the need for these documents will be minimal, but if families have them in place, parents will be able to aid their child in certain situations.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

As parents no longer have access to their adult child’s medical records or have say in their medical treatments, having the student sign a Power of Attorney for Health Care, also known as a Medical Power of Attorney in other states, allows parents to be informed and help make medical decisions for their child. With this signed document, parents can decide how their child should be treated if they are hurt and/or sick and cannot make medical decisions for themselves.

Nina Stillman is a veteran attorney at Fischel | Kahn who focuses on creating and executing estate plans and the related administration, taxation and litigation of estates and trusts. To prepare these important documents for your college-bound student, email her at

August 8, 2022 | Trusts and Estates |