August is here. That means the summer is winding down, fall is in the air, and children all over the country are starting to head off to college. They have packed up all the things they will need when they are away at school. As parents, you’ve doubled checked to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything important. But are you forgetting something? Probably.

When we send our kids off to college we worry that they will be happy; we worry that they will healthy; we worry that they are safe; we worry. We are not their landlords any longer, but we will always be their parents. We believe that if our child gets hurt when they are away at school, we will automatically be contacted by the school or the hospital or the doctor. We are wrong.

Almost 20 million students were enrolled in college in 2009 and 99% of them were age 18 or older*. Legally, that 99% of college students are adults and their parents are now no longer able to make medical decisions or have access to the health information for them. Your son or daughter is only 18, they’re still a child in your mind; you are their parent and you want to be informed if they are sick or hurt. You can.

There are two documents that every student should have prior to going off to college: a Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA) and a HIPAA release. When your child is unable to make medical decisions on their own, due to incapacitation, the HCPOA provides you with the ability to make those decisions in their place. The HIPAA release allows the hospital or doctor’s office to legally discuss your child’s private medical information with you so that you can have the knowledge to make the right choice for their care. We all want our children to go to school and have happy, healthy, and safe experiences; the Health Care Power of Attorney and the HIPAA Release are two legal documents that provide you with the peace of mind that you can be there for your children when they may need you most.

* Statistics provided by the US Census Bureau data for 2012

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HighPoint Law Offices PC

At HighPoint Law Offices we support individuals, families, and businesses of all backgrounds with estate planning services that address their unique wishes, goals, and challenges.

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