Legal Documents to Prepare for the College-bound Student
Your child has graduated from high school and is bound for college! You've made the usual WalMart/Target run to get all the necessities needed to set them up in a dorm room. But have do you have these legal documents in place - durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney and a HIPAA release? Most parents don't or don't want to think or talk about these documents for their college age child, but it's really important to plan just in case. Why do need these documents on your 18 year old??
Should your child be in an accident or sick and unconscious for a period of time, without a HIPAA release and a medical power of attorney, you may not be able to obtain any information about their condition or be consulted about treatment. At this point, they are legal adults, so without these documents in place, it might not matter that you are the loving parent. Hospital staff can not legally give you any information about your adult child unless you can show them that you have the necessary authority to receive the information.
A durable power of attorney will allow the parent to take care of financial matters for the child if they are unable to do so. It will also allow parents to obtain grades, pay bills, and other information needed to attend to their affairs if they are unable.
Parents should keep the original documents in a safe place, but easily accessible should the need arise to use them. If you have access to cloud storage (Drop-box) or something similar, storing a PDF electronically is also a great idea.
The hope is that you would never need to use these documents - but having them in place could certainly be blessing should you need them. An Estate Planning Attorney can help you draw up the documents pretty quickly without a huge expense. Better to be safe than sorry!
Reference: Adapted from an article in Investment News