Preparing legal forms before going to college can be one of the smartest moves you’ll ever make as a parent. There is no question there is much to celebrate with high school graduation and college on the horizon, but failing to follow through to secure the proper forms could make the difference between knowing and remaining in the dark. And, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get done.
Having a child turn 18 changes everything. Even though 22% of millennial Americans are staying home or moving into their old bedrooms according to Zillow, they are still considered independent when it comes to health and medical information. Accidents and illnesses are going to happen, but mom and dad will not be able to receive updates from the doctors or make decisions on their kid’s care. And worse, imagine if something should happen while they are away at college?
Taking these steps and preparing these legal forms before going to college could position you well as a parent to know the status of your child’s health if something should happen.
There are three legal forms to consider preparing to allow the involvement of a parent (or whomever) in an emergency or medical event.
Medical Power of Attorney
This will allow someone, in this case a parent, to make medical decisions on behalf of the individual in the event they are unable to make decisions on their own. In addition to making decisions, this authorization provides access to medical records otherwise off-limits.
By signing a medical power of attorney, you are naming this person your “medical agent,” and identifying this person the sole point of contact for medical care.
In the event there is no medical power of attorney in place, the healthcare professionals and doctors will be the sole decision-makers on your child’s medical care.
A medical power of attorney form for your state can be found here.
HIPPA stands for, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and you may be more familiar with its use when and if you’ve ever signed a HIPPA Release form.
If you have ever attempted to get information about the condition or care of a loved one in the hospital or doctor’s office without being named by the patient as one permitted to receive the information, you know all too well how difficult and frustrating it can be not knowing the details.
The good news is it’s a fairly simple and straightforward form and process. In essence, by signing a HIPPA release form, you are indicating your approval for your medical information to be released to anyone you specify. This form should definitely be in place before an emergency occurs.
A HIPPA authorization form for your state can be found here.
Durable Power of Attorney
Unlike a medical power of attorney that gives permission for medical decisions, the durable power of attorney gives permission for financial and legal decisions.
For a parent of a college student, this can be a huge life-saver. This authorization gives parents the authority to make changes to financial aid packages, manage bank accounts, file taxes, pay bills, break a lease, and more!
A list of durable power of attorney forms by state can be found here.
Some Things That Change When They Turn 18
- All males with US Citizenship are required to join the Selective Service.
- Civic responsibilities include the right to vote and serve on a jury.
- Once someone turns 18 years of age, FERPA laws state parents no longer have access to their child’s grades or academic progress.
- Relationships with someone under the age of 18 can lead to serious legal consequences.
- Young drivers are considered at high risk for accidents and insurance is much higher as a result.
- Responsible to file their own taxes and pay taxes.
If you have a child at home in high school and would like to discuss the college journey, fill out this form and we will be in touch to set up your FREE consultation!