Three “Must Have” Estate Plan Documents Every Parent Needs For Their College Student

By Katherine D. Bishop December 16, 2019Estate & Trust Law

When preparing to send your child off to college, there are many things parents need to consider. One item that is likely not on the to-do list is having an estate plan for your college student. Typically, young adults heading off to college are 18 years old and technically legal adults responsible for all decisions, including those regarding their health.

Even though your child may still be on your health insurance, after a child turns 18, parents no longer have a legal right to their child’s medical records and/or healthcare-related information. This means that if your child has a medical emergency while away at college, you may not be able to have access to their information or make decisions on their behalf should they be unable.

Having an estate plan in place that includes the following three legal documents can alleviate this concern and allow you to help your child if a medical emergency were to occur.

1. HIPAA Authorization Form. This legal document allows an individual’s health information to be disclosed to a designated third-party.

2. Healthcare Power of Attorney. 
This legal document allows an individual to elect another to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the individual if they are unable to make decisions regarding their own healthcare.

3. Durable Power of Attorney. 
This legal document allows an individual to give authority to another to make financial decisions, sign legal documents, and sign financial transactions on behalf of the individual if they become mentally incapacitated.

Estate planning is not only applicable to the wealthy and older generations. It can be an extremely critical tool for parents and their children, particularly those heading off to college. If you would like to discuss your child’s estate planning, please contact PLDO Associate Katherine D. Bishop at 401-824-5100 or email



Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only. This blog is not legal advice and you should not use or rely on it as such. By reading this blog or our website, no attorney-client relationship is created. We do not provide legal advice to anyone except clients of the firm who have formally engaged us in writing to do so. This blog post may be considered attorney advertising in certain jurisdictions. The jurisdictions in which we practice license lawyers in the general practice of law, but do not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

Back to Blog

Katherine D. Bishop is an Associate with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC. She focuses her practice on providing legal support across the firm’s practice areas, including as a member of the Litigation Team, assisting in client representation in all stages of litigation from pre-trial investigation and discovery, to motions and pleadings preparation through trial, settlement and the appeal process.

Attorney Bishop is an experienced legal researcher and skilled writer with significant work in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining PLDO, Attorney Bishop served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Associate Justice Richard A. Licht of the Rhode Island Superior Court.  While in law school, she was a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. She also worked as a Research Assistant for a Roger Williams law professor and as a Law Clerk in the Office of Corporate Counsel for IDC, Inc. – The Newport Experience.

Attorney Bishop earned her J.D. from Roger Williams School of Law, magna cum laude.  She was the Editor-in-Chief of the Roger Williams University Law Review and CALI Award winner in Criminal Law, Contracts II, Legal Practice II, and SEM: Senior Abuse, Neglect, and Injuries.  She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont. Attorney Bishop is licensed to practice law in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. To contact Attorney Bishop, please call 401-824-5510 or email

Leave a Reply