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Packing for College from a Legal Point of View

Legal Matters


Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning,

While you’re packing dorm linens and electronics, remember to pack the legal documents that you hope your child never needs during college.

Contact Info. Make sure your child has every possible contact means for you in his or her wallet and in their cell phones, perhaps under ICE (In Case of Emergency). If you are a blended family, keep in mind who has legal custody and the legal right to make healthcare decisions.

If your child’s college is in a different state, check to see what age is considered an adult. If it is lower than Alabama, your child will be considered an adult, so you should set up a healthcare power of attorney. While in college in Boston, one young Alabamian was side-swiped by a car when crossing the street. Fortunately, he was not hurt badly and could speak for himself at the hospital, but what if he couldn’t? In Alabama, as an 18-year-old, he was considered a minor and his parents could make healthcare decisions, but in Massachusetts, he was considered an adult.

Exchange contact information with all roommates’ parents. In one very sad instance, when a college student committed suicide, his roommates and their parents had a very hard time getting in touch with the parents back in Arizona.

Power of Attorney. Consider setting up a comprehensive durable power of attorney in order to handle your college student’s financial affairs and other assets.

Will. If your college student has substantial assets, you may want to set up a will, particularly if you would not want those assets added back into your estate. Alabama’s laws for those with no wills (dying intestate) are not what you want to have specifying who gets what in the case of a tragedy. And of course, copies of these legal documents should be with your student’s belongings and your own files.

If you carry an umbrella, it usually won’t rain, right? Hopefully, if you make these preparations, you will never have to use them. Meet with a qualified estate planning attorney long before you pack the car for college.

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-Melanie B. Holliman, JD Community Partner Logo 20 Years

Partner, 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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