Don't Send Your Child Back to College Without These


As your child prepares to start or return to college, your student will be anticipating the excitement of exploring the newfound freedoms and experiences that the world has to offer. Parents, on the other hand, may be experiencing the reality of letting go and relinquishing control, possibly for the first time in their child’s life, with all of the accompanying nervousness and uncertainty.

The time between high school graduation and departing for college is short, and there are certainly many must-do items. Among the shopping, packing, class registration, financial aid, dorm and meal plan, and health care tasks to complete, parents should consider adding legal documents to their summer to-do lists.

Why? Legally, things are different once a child reaches the age of 18, otherwise known as the legal age of adulthood. When this happens, parents typically are no longer entitled to make decisions on behalf of their child, since the child is now a legal adult. Should an emergency arise while their child is away at school, parents may encounter obstacles obtaining access to their child's academic or financial records, making important medical decisions for their child if needed, and gaining access to their son or daughter's medical information. However, having the proper legal documents in place before your child leaves for college will help avoid these issues.

What are these documents?

A Power of Attorney for Health Care AND a Power of Attorney for Property allow parents to make necessary decisions on their child's behalf, as follows:
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
    • This document allows your child to designate someone to be their agent in the event they are unable to make or communicate decisions about their health care. This may be necessary in the event of an accident or other medical emergency while the child is away from home.
  • Power of Attorney for Property
    • This document allows your child to name an agent to make financial and property decisions on their behalf when they are unable to do so. Should their child become incapacitated for any reason, this document enables a parent to access school records and bank accounts, and make or cancel contracts, as well as other permitted actions.
  • HIPAA Release
    • This document allows doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to release a child's medical information to parents or other loved ones.

How to get started or find out more information?

Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney to start the conversation and get the documents that you need for your family!

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