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Power of Attorney for College

Congratulations!  Your child has achieved a major milestone and you are a very big reason for their success.  This is an exciting time full of so many new experiences and opportunities!  

You are likely starting to tackle the long “to-do” list of items to acquire and pack in preparation for move-in day.  While it’s probably not something they asked for, one of the best graduation gifts you can give your child is certain legal documents that will protect both you and your child in the event of an accident or emergency.  You want to ensure that you have access to key financial and medical information.  Although you are still the parent (and may be still paying the bills), your 18-year-old child is legally an adult, and without certain documents in place, you will not have immediate access to important information when you most need it.       

Three key documents will allow you to get information and intervene on your child’s behalf while away at school:

1. A Durable Power of Attorney gives one or more people the ability to act on behalf of your child as their agent.  A Power of Attorney allows the agent to make financial decisions, including managing bank accounts, paying bills, signing tax returns, signing a lease, and conducting other similar financial and legal transactions. 

Consider this situation – Your college-aged daughter is studying abroad in Italy and loses her U.S. bank-issued ATM card.  You will easily and quickly be able to get a new ATM card for your daughter because you had a prepared a Power of Attorney with our office prior to your daughter leaving for Italy.

2. A Healthcare Power of Attorney gives one or more people the ability to view your child’s medical records and make informed medical decisions as a “medical agent.”  Without this document (or a court-appointed guardianship – which takes time), healthcare decisions regarding your child’s treatment are solely in the hands of healthcare providers.

Consider this situation – A friend’s son is unconscious in the hospital following a prank at his fraternity house.  Because the friend’s son had signed a Healthcare Power of Attorney before he left for college naming his parents as his agents, the parents were able to have access to their son’s medical records and make informed medical decisions with healthcare providers.  

3. A HIPPA Authorization Form allows certain people (named on the form) to have access to information that is otherwise protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA).  If you are named on this form, it gives you the ability to ask for and receive information from healthcare providers about your child’s health status, progress, and treatment.  

Consider this situation – A friend’s daughter is involved in a bicycle accident on campus and rushed to the hospital with head trauma.  Her mother calls the hospital to check on her daughter’s condition and the response she gets from the hospital is, “Sorry, due to HIPPA, I cannot give you any information about your daughter.”  Had her daughter signed a HIPPA Authorization Form naming her mother as an authorized party, her mother would have been able to receive information from health care providers about her daughter’s condition.   

You’ve spent years preparing financially and emotionally for this time.  You’ve equipped your children with so many tools to help them succeed.  Send them off with the assurance that you will still be there – because you legally can be there – in the event you need to help them when they need it most.

We’re here to help you!  Contact our office to make an appointment to prepare these important documents.