If you are among the many Americans who will be sending a young adult to college this month, this information is vital. Even though he or she may still be dependent on you, anyone 18 years of age or older are considered to legally be adults. As such, you can be restricted from some vital information and decisions. In order to circumvent this possible restriction, please ask your young adult to sign a Health Care Proxy and/or a Durable Power of Attorney.
Since the legal age of adulthood is 18, many parents will no longer be able to make medical or financial decisions for their college-bound children. If there were a medical emergency, you may not be able to assist in the medical care of your child without a Health Care Proxy. A HealthCare Proxy gives parents access to their young adult child’s medical records and health care decisions if necessary. Without this form, doctors are legally bound to withhold medical information and medical records under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A Health Care Proxy eliminates that possibility and will allow parents access to their child’s medical information.
A Durable Power of Attorney appoints a trusted family member as an agent to act on one’s behalf, if need be, in a variety of financial and legal matters. This document can be used to access grades and financial aid information, but it can also be used to if your child goes overseas for a semester. In case of an emergency, it can make it easier to wire money from a child’s bank account or to contact a local embassy on your child’s behalf.
Although this may be a difficult topic to discuss with your college-bound “independent” student, it may prove to be of paramount importance. These documents will help you both navigate this new stage of life, by being prepared for any emergency.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you, every step of the way.