Important Legal Papers You And Your College Bound Kids Need
When sending a kid to college, the last things you might be thinking about are legal matters or legal papers.
Are you sending your first child off to college this fall? Maybe you have a child that is going back to college for his or her second, third or fourth term or year. No matter if this is a first or not, if your kid is 18 you probably already know that they are considered adults and you have no legal agency over them.
With that in mind, please consider the dilemma you would be in if your child were in a serious accident or became seriously ill and were hospitalized while away at school – or even while at home. You would have no legal recourse to find out what condition they were in or gain any information unless you have the proper legal documents filled out and signed by your child.
You can’t do this after the fact, it must be done before your kid goes off to school. In the best-case scenario both you and your child would have a copy of the requisite documents and the school they are attending would also have a copy on file.
The following are the three important documents you’ll want to review and fill out with your child before they leave for school.
1. Legal Forms and College Kids – the HIPAA Form
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) makes it virtually impossible to get information you need about a patient in the hospital if you are not authorized. The HIPAA form is a document that lets a patient (in this case your college bound child) designate certain family members, friends and others be updated about their medical information during treatment. Do not hesitate to fill this document out before your kid leaves for school.
2. College Age Kids Legal Forms – Medical Power of Attorney
A medical or healthcare power of attorney is a legal document naming you the parent a “medical agent” for your college student. If your child becomes medically incapacitated, you can make informed medical decisions on their behalf. This document can also name you as the sole point of contact and decision-maker, allowing you to decide the best course of action with the doctors. If you don’t have a medical or healthcare power of attorney in place, the doctors will be the ones who make decisions about your child’s care.
3. Financial Power of Attorney (a.k.a. General Durable Power of Attorney) for College-Age Kids
While a medical power of attorney form is strictly for health care choices should your son or daughter become incapacitated, a financial power of attorney (a.k.a. general durable power of attorney) covers financial decisions. Your college student gives authority to another person (you) to make financial/legal decisions on their behalf if they should become incapacitated. This applies to managing bank accounts, paying bills, filing taxes, applying for government benefits and breaking a lease.
Do your homework about these necessary legal forms for adult-age college kids before your child heads off to college.
Of course, the hope is that none of these documents ever has to come into play. The best-case scenario is that your kid goes off to college, studies, plays, enjoys and stays healthy and out of harms’ way. That is what most often happens. But sometimes tragedy strikes and in that unlikely event you want to know that you will be in a position to make the best decisions for your child. If you have a kid heading off to college, give us a call and let us help you get the right documents filled out, signed and ready to send off with your kid with the very best of wishes.