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Even college students need basic estate plans

If you are a Florida college student, you'll probably soon be heading home for Thanksgiving break. While you're home with your parents and family, it's a good idea to handle some business you probably neglected to manage before you left home in the fall.

The matter involves estate planning. No, that's not a typo. While that topic probably is furthest from your mind, it's an important subject to cover for adults of all ages.

For instance, estate planning documents like living wills and healthcare proxies include provisions for the care that you want while you're still alive but ill or seriously injured. Let's review some documents you may want to include with your initial estate plan.

Health care proxy

If you step off the curb and get hit by a bus and are left with traumatic brain injuries, who would make decisions for you? Chances are, it would fall on your parents, even though they may not be the ones whom you would like to designate this authority.

Perhaps you have a very level-headed uncle or older brother whom you think might better represent your interests than your distraught and grieving parents. After discussing this with that person, you can draft the document naming that individual as your health care proxy.

HIPAA authorization

This legal document allows medical professionals to disclose your pertinent medical information to a third party. Once you are an adult, your physician cannot legally disseminate vital information about your condition to your parents or other family members without a signed authorization.

A Durable power of attorney

If you are incapacitated by injury or sickness, your designated power of attorney can handle legal matters for you like unenrolling you from the university once you are no longer able to attend or selling a vehicle to cover the medical bills you ran up.

A simple will

While you might not have a lot of assets or resources as a university student, you certainly have some favorite possessions you might like to leave to siblings or treasured friends. Also, the funds in your bank accounts can be left to the person or charity you choose.

Maturity involves dealing with matters you might rather avoid. Take the first step in addressing your lifelong estate plan now.

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