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Estate planning is often farthest from college students' minds

Many Illinois young people begin their adult lives in college. They feel as though their whole lives are ahead of them and that they have plenty of time to worry about "adult" issues. What they do not realize is that no one knows whether they will end up suffering from serious injuries, a serious illness or even death at any point. For this reason, college students tend not to consider the fact that estate planning should be a priority for them as well.

Because they could end up suffering serious injuries in a car accident or some other catastrophe, or an unexpected and debilitating illness, young people need health care powers of attorney and authorizations waiving certain privacy laws on file. Once an Illinois resident reaches the age of majority, his or her parents no longer have unfettered access to medical information. This means that when a young person is unable to communicate or make decisions on his or her behalf, parents could be unable to step in and take over these duties for their child. The same circumstances make a financial power of attorney just as important.

The other document that every adult needs is a will. Even if college students do not yet have a lot of assets, they still need a last will and testament. This document allows them to appoint someone to handle their estates. Even if not much is needed to wrap things up, it is still important to retain control over these choices, along with the choice of who will receive what assets an individual has.

The trick is that these estate planning documents must comply with current Illinois law. Making sure they do requires the inclusion of certain language and a specific method of execution. Failing to make sure these requirements are met could delay important health care and financial decisions during incapacitation, along with unnecessary complications during estate administration.

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