College students should have certain estate planning documents

College students in Florida are entering adulthood and need to think about some responsibilities. Once, your parents made all decisions. Now, certain laws may block them from doing so. You need to create a few documents to make sure the people you love and trust are the ones who are making decisions for you.


When you turn 18, you are an adult. Many rights your parents had – such as to see your medical records – they no longer have. You could be seriously injured or develop a chronic disease that incapacitates you. If that happens, you need to find someone to receive your medical information.

You can designate a parent or others to get your medical information through a HIPAA form. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It ensures privacy for medical patients and restricts access to their data. You need to allow people access by filling out a HIPAA form. You can list your parents, siblings, a close friend, or anyone you want to be in the know when you are in the hospital.

Durable power of attorney

The HIPAA form is for information, but if you want someone to be able to make decisions for you, you should prepare a durable power of attorney. This form enables someone else to make decisions if you cannot. If you are in a coma, your appointed agent will be making many varied decisions about your care. Think carefully about who you put in this position, and it should be someone who you trust. This person will also be able to make financial decisions on your behalf.

If you have questions about these documents, you may want to meet with an estate planning attorney who can give you guidance. You may want other documents, such as an advance medical directive that lays out in more detail your wishes should you become incapacitated.