As summer ends and our commutes get longer with back to school traffic, some of us face empty bedrooms and fewer members in our homes. As September begins, many of our first-born children have left for colleges and universities across the United States. While many of our students might not consider it too important, the start of the freshman year brings another change for most of them. On their 18th birthdays, our new college students can legally make a will, as well as appoint an agent to serve as durable power of attorney and/or healthcare power of attorney.
As I’ve said before, estate planning is not something to be viewed as only for the wealthy. Even our newly grown-up 18 year old children can benefit by considering what they would want to happen with their estate, who they would want to act on their behalf and what kind of life-prolonging or life-sustaining measures they would want. The 18th birthday brings significant change to their lives; not only do the have the legal capacity to make a will and other estate planning documents, but they can also vote and join the military. Even if the terms of the will appear basic, the simple fact of putting such a plan in place can mark the first true steps our children take into adulthood. As an added reason for considering an estate plan, some of our children will be out-of-state, where the laws might be slightly different than we’re used to in North Carolina.
If your child has attained age 18, consider discussing estate planning with him or her next time they come back home. It can be a discussion worth having.