More and more college students choose a semester or year abroad and continue their studies in a foreign country. There are many benefits for students on a semester abroad: they get to see the world, are exposed to new cultures and ways of living and they have educational opportunities that aren’t available at their college. Parents who are helping their students plan for a semester abroad have a long list to prepare for their travels, including a passport, study permits and other paperwork, navigating international travel schedules, budgeting and staying connected with family back home.
Studying abroad helps your child learn how to prepare for the unexpected, whether that is a canceled flight or a serious illness. Unexpected things will happen, but advance planning can help prepare your college student for life in a foreign country.
If your child is studying abroad, your child should have the names and phone numbers of who to contact in an emergency if they cannot reach you. In addition, there should be legal safeguards in place if you have to make decisions on your adult child’s behalf while they are out of the country or unreachable.
1. Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone to act as your agent and conduct business and make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. In your college student’s case, a POA would be very useful if
• they have a semester abroad and are out of the country for an extended period and have financial issues to handle
• someone needs to sign a rent agreement, file taxes or take out an insurance policy on their behalf
A durable power of attorney has many benefits that will protect your college student child and give you peace of mind. In most cases, a durable power of attorney (DPOA) can be used to allow the designated person – such as a parent – to handle affairs in specific areas of a college student’s life, such as in financial or health matters if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney lasts indefinitely.
When your child returns to the United States, the POA can be modified or even eliminated.
2. Health Care Proxy
Without a health care proxy in place, if your child as a legal adult over the age of 18 becomes seriously ill, as the parent you no longer have the right to make medical decisions on their behalf, which can delay emergency treatment and cause additional stress. If your adult child becomes seriously ill or incapacitated while they are studying abroad, you want the legal right to make medical decisions on their behalf. A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make medical decisions on behalf of another.
Your child’s university can provide you with any legal requirements of their host country so your estate planning attorney can make sure the health care proxy is recognized abroad.
Protecting your college-age child in an emergency and providing peace of mind for your family can be achieved with expert guidance from the estate planning attorneys at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Illinois today at 630-864-5835.