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College Departure Protection

College Planning Insights

by Justin C. Kuntz, CFP ®

The end of summer will be here before we know it, and with that comes the back-to-school fall season. Whether you’re sending off your oldest child to their first year at college or your youngest child to their senior year, this prudent guide will enable you to continue assisting with financial and health decisions while protecting them from the consequences of identity theft.

If you have already filled out your FAFSA form and funded a 529 Plan, you’re in a good starting position to tie up the last few loose ends and successfully send your child off to school.

While you’re still likely going to claim your child as your dependent on your tax forms, your student is now legally an adult. Schools and doctors are unable to provide, discuss, or share any information without the student’s consent. In the rare event of an emergency of any kind, the medical professionals involved will not communicate with you about your child’s current condition.

Power of Attorney

  • The first step to remedy this potential situation is to discuss with your children the idea of executing Power of Attorney forms.
  • There are two applicable categories of Power of Attorney that would be helpful, for Healthcare and Property.
  • If the parent is named as the ‘agent’, the child has given the ability to their parent to make decisions, be provided information, and act on their behalf if they are not able to themselves.

Credit Freeze

  • Identity theft is rampant in today’s day and age. A young adult is often a target for these thieves, as they are unlikely to notice any changes to their credit for years. If there is not a material reason for your child to obtain a new line of credit (new car loan, credit card, etc.), freezing their credit can provide a very strong level of protection for them.
  • For a minimal-to-no cost, freezing your child’s credit can be done within 30 minutes. It can be done by calling each of the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by phone or online.
  • A Social Security number and birthdate are typically required to verify your identity.
  • Unfreezing can be done at any time using the PIN number that is established during the freezing process. You can also unfreeze for a particular time period, and the freeze would automatically resume in the future.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, so take care of these items and complete the transition to your children’s school with confidence! The Pacific Wealth Management team is committed to helping our clients make sound financial decisions throughout their lives. Reach out to discuss any other College Planning goals and to learn more about how we can help.

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