Congratulations to all recent graduates of 2018! This is an incredible milestone! There couldn’t possibly be any legal steps that need to be taken during this exciting time, right? Well, I am here to inform you otherwise. This mini-blog is just a helpful reminder to let you know that if you have not updated your estate planning documents or created estate planning documents then this is a perfect time to do so.
If your child just graduated from high school then I’d venture to say that you likely have a guardianship provision in your will that probably says something about who your child should go to when they turn 18. Odds are, they’ve probably either aged out of that provision or they are just about to age out of that provision. Another speculation, what if you have more than one child, the oldest just graduated, and you think that the younger children would be better living with the recent graduate rather than other family members? This means a change in the guardianship provision needs to take place.
How about if your child just graduated college? Again, congratulations! That is very exciting! Legally though, I’ll bet your estate planning documents include a trust provision. This means that your children who just graduated college are closing in on reaching the age where they can inherit under the terms of a trust that you’ve established. Not saying that they stand to inherit any time soon, but it is worth revisiting to make sure that all of the people that you want to have inherit under the trust terms are all included.
Finally, if your children are 18 years or older they have the legal ability to enter into a contract. They can create their own estate planning documents. You are never too young to have estate planning documents. What do I mean by estate planning documents? I am referring to a will, healthcare power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and/or a living will. Let’s start by considering a hypothetical scenario. Say your child goes to college in a different state and your sister, the child’s aunt, lives nearby. Now say your child suffers an injury relating to sports and they need an operation. Who is going to make basic medical decisions if they need surgery and you can’t make it there? Well, it would be nice for your child to have a trusted healthcare agent appointed, namely your sister, if a situation like this happens. This is just one example of the benefits of the estate planning documents.
If you have any questions about how any other estate planning documents can be beneficial, then please give our office a call, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, if you see this post on our Facebook or other social media accounts, please leave a question in the comments and I will happily respond! Again, congratulations graduates!