Sending your children off to college for the first time is filled with unpredictability and excitement. Not only are they entering one of the most memorable periods of their life, but also at the age of 18, they are adults by law and are not legally answerable to their parents for anything. This means college students are no longer required to share their academic progress with their parents or involve them in making financial and medical decisions.
Parents and guardians usually welcome their child’s passage into adulthood. The question comes up – what would happen if their child cannot make decisions while in surgery or because of an incapacity due to an accident or otherwise?
To help prepare for the unpredictable, you should consider having your child sign these legal directives:
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare: Once your child is 18, medical institutions will no longer automatically release medical records to you as a parent or allow you to be a part of your child’s healthcare decisions. A Power of Attorney for Healthcare signed by your child naming the parents or guardians as their agents gives you access to information that would otherwise be blocked under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and allows you to make medical decisions on behalf of your child if they cannot make them for themselves and includes an advance directive specifying your child’s wishes if they become incapacitated.
- Power of Attorney for Property: This document allows you to manage your child’s financial matters such as bank accounts and credit cards if they are not able to do so.
- FERPA waiver: Once your child is an adult, FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) prevents a parent or guardian from accessing their student’s grades or any disciplinary reports without the student’s written permission (with a few exceptions). If your child signs a FERPA waiver, however, the academic institution will release educational records to you. You can usually find this document on the college’s website.
The attorneys at Boodell & Domanskis, LLC are available to assist you with preparing and executing the documents you require, so you can assist your child in an emergency or simply if needed. Contact us today.