College Kids and Grandchildren
As your child heads off to college (or as you watch your grandchild head off ) you feel a sense of relief and, of course, sadness as your baby moves to the next stage of life.
You’ve purchased the dorm room supplies — a small refrigerator, dorm-size sheets, new towels, decorations — and you are prepared to drive, fly or otherwise get them to their campus on time. Can you sit back and put up your feet on a job well done? Maybe not; there might just be one last task you need to check off your to-do list.
College Student Paperwork
As your child or grandchild gets older, you have less control over their life. This also becomes legally true when they turn 18. Once that happens, you do not automatically have the right to speak to their doctors, for example. Your child’s finances (even if you are supporting them) are private as well. So, you need them to sign three critical documents: a Health Care Power of Attorney with a HIPAA Release, a Durable Power of Attorney, and a Last Will and Testament.
The Health Care Power of Attorney allows you, after your child is 18, to make medical decisions if the child cannot do so.
When your child is younger than 18, you can make all medical decisions for them. That changes after they turn 18 and you lose that right. If they’re in an accident and are unable to make medical decisions for themselves, a Health Care Power of Attorney signed in advance would allow you to be their health care agent.
The HIPAA release form also is important. Many parents are probably still paying medical bills for their college-age students and helping them make medical decisions....