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Adulting in College

Legal Matters


Community Partner Logo 20 Years 150x150Brought to you by: Community Partner Bradford & Holliman

Heading off to college is a major step toward becoming an adult, but it is not all dorm linens and electronics. Adulting work occurs before heading to campus so let’s talk about the ‘what ifs” and help set up the right legal documents. Here are four things to discuss with your college student.

1. Healthcare and Durable Powers of Attorney. Discuss how a comprehensive durable power of attorney lets you be a backup manager for your college student’s financial affairs. If the college is in a different state, check the age of majority. Your college kid may be considered an adult at college and a minor in Alabama, so a healthcare power of attorney is advisable. Alabama’s age of majority is 19, but Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana’s age of majority is 18. Mississippi’s age is 21. If you are a blended family, keep in mind who has legal custody and the legal right to make healthcare decisions.

2. Will. If your young adult has substantial assets, you may want to help set up a will, particularly if you do not want those assets added back into your estate. Alabama’s laws for those with no wills (dying intestate) may not align with you and your young adult’s wishes in case of a tragedy. And of course, copies of these legal documents should be with your student’s belongings and in your own files.

3. Contact information. Make sure your young adult has all your contact information in his or her wallet and phone, perhaps under ICE (In Case of Emergency).  Encourage them to add emergency contact info to Alabama’s database associated with driver’s licenses. You do not have to redo the driver’s license. Go to Also don’t forget to exchange contact info with all roommates’ parents. 

4. Financial Affairs. Discuss cash flow to prevent calls home about running out of funds. Your young adult needs to know upfront when funds will be transferred.  Having a parent as a bank account signee through a power of attorney may be a good idea based on your young adult’s financial acumen. This talk is a great chance to reiterate that expenses should always be less than income. 

If your young adult balks at this advance planning, just explain the adage of carrying an umbrella so that it won’t rain. Introduce your young adult to a qualified estate planning attorney long before packing the car for college and before your college student gets absolutely giddy about heading off to college: Adulting 101.

Legal Matters bradford Holliman head shot Melanie Bradford 07 cropped print-Melanie B. Holliman, JD 

Partner at Bradford & Holliman 

Estate Planning, Trusts & Special Needs


No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.

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