3 Documents Every College Student Should Have

August 10 - Posted at 4:00 PM Tagged: , , ,
This time of year is filled with all sorts of emotions, checklists, logistics and large bills as kids are heading off to college.  Parents often forget that their little one, who is now an adult, is treated as an adult in the eyes of the law. It is also a time when “adult” children are not fully independent of their parents, but parents may not be permitted to help on their behalf since the child is legally deemed an adult.

To avoid circumstances where parents and children are separated by legal requirements, there are 3 key documents that every 18 year old (or college aged kid) should have.

Document #1- General Durable Power of Attorney
This document permits a child to name parent(s) to help make financial decisions. It allows the parents to deal with the child’s landlord, housing issues, insurance questions, or deal with financial institutions on the child’s behalf. It also allows parents to speak with the college and gain access to the child’s grades. Generally speaking, it allows the parent(s) to stand in the shoes of the child. 

Document #2- HIPPA Release
This document regulates use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI). Just because you have a familial relationship (i.e parent and child) does not always get around the requirement that an adult child had to give their parents access and permission to their medical records.  In the event that the child is hospitalized and unable to communicate and there is no HIPPA release in place, the parent may be left in the dark about their child’s status. This document does not give the parents the right to make medical decisions on the child’s behalf, but specifies to the medical facility/provider who they have permission to talk to about the child’s medical condition and records.

Document #3- Advanced Directive
This document allows the child to name who has permission to make medical decisions on their behalf. There are times when accidents happen and if the child is unable to communicate or make medical decisions about their care, there needs to be someone who can make decisions for them. Access to a child’s medical records can be granted with a HIPPA Release, but the actual authority to make decisions about medical care can be be granted with an Advanced Medical Directive. 

As you go over these forms with your child, it is a good time to have an open dialogue about their wishes in the event of a catastrophic event which may lead to the need to develop a Living Will as well. 

Please let us know if you would like to receive a sample copy of any of these forms.
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