Do you have the right legal documents ready for your college student?

If you have a child leaving for college soon, here is one more item to add to your to-do list: Execute an advance directive for health care. Sure, you want your young adult to gradually accept personal responsibility. And surely you want to avoid the dreaded label-helicopter mom. But push the pause button long enough to ensure that if the unmentionable happens and your child becomes incapacitated, you are the one carrying out the health care decisions your child has decided are best for him or her.

Executing a Georgia Advanced Directive for Healthcare authorizes the person designated to carry out the medical decisions on behalf of another person. If your child has not signed this document, and he or she becomes incapacitated, you may need court approval to act on his or her behalf.

This health care directive can be established so that it becomes effective the moment your child signs it, or you your child can specify that it becomes active by a specific event — for instance, if he or she becomes unable to make health care decisions.