Talking about end-of-life health care decisions can be uncomfortable at any age. Broaching the subject with a college-bound young adult may be especially off-putting and scary. Have you considered, however, that initiating a thoughtful conversation could yield important information that may help parents and loved ones make the right choices in the event of a tragic medical emergency?
Parents should even consider having their college-age child make a living will. A living will enshrines end-of-life care wishes into a legally binding estate document. A living will provides instructions for parents to follow in the event of a terminal, end-of-life care scenario so they may avoid having to agonize over whether to pursue life-saving procedures for their adult child, or end them. The document would also prevent others from acting against their child’s wishes.
Many people associate living wills with older adults, but college students are not immune to car accidents, violent crime, or life-threatening illnesses. COVID-19, for example, is surging among young adults in many states, and colleges may be flooded with students in the fall. The risk of infection and hospitalization seems clear, especially for students with preexisting health conditions.
There may be a few important things to note about a living will:
- States may have different estate planning requirements. If your child attends college in another state, consider securing a living will for that state and their home state.
- Make several copies of the completed document(s) and keep the originals in an accessible place. Save originals on a hard drive or cloud server for digital transmission.
- A living will is effective as soon as it is signed and witnessed. They remain in effect until they are changed.
- Periodically review a living will to make sure it continues to reflect end-of-life wishes.
Nobody wants to imagine end-of-life situations. With thoughtfulness, preparation, and love, however, parents can discuss the difficult topic and prepare for life’s worst-case scenarios. Contact our office for help navigating these challenges.