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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Get a Power of Attorney for Your College-Age Kid

Another school year has come and gone. Some of you may be preparing to send your kid off to college in the fall. The newly available freedom in the future for them can be exciting and, especially as a parent, a little scary. As you prepare yourself and your college kid logistically, mentally, and emotionally for this big transition ahead, consider preparing things legally as well. After all, most students entering college for the first time this fall will be 18 and that means they are now legal adults. With this change in legal status also comes restrictions as a parent that you have not yet experienced in your child’s lifetime. For instance, being informed and consenting to medical treatment on behalf of your child will no longer be an automatic right of yours. Instead, to be authorized for such things, explicit power must be granted through legal documentation such as a power of attorney.

Get a Power of Attorney for Your College-Age Kid

There are a number of different power of attorneys you can put in place and you should consider for your college-age kid. A power of attorney grants authority to an agent to act on behalf of the principal. A power of attorney can grant general powers to conduct legal and other affairs or it can be specific. A medical power of attorney, for instance, authorizes the agent to make medical decisions on the principle’s behalf and is usually limited to circumstances where the agent has been rendered incapacitated and unable to communicate medical preferences for themselves.

Now that your kid is no longer a kid, legally speaking, hospital legal departments may not allow you to make decisions on behalf of your incapacitated kid. This will likely hold true even if you can prove you are their parent. Because of this, without a medical power of attorney in place, medical decisions will likely fall solely to the treating doctor. Should your child be incapacitated for the long term, you will have to go to court seeking the establishment of a guardianship in order to make medical decisions on behalf of your child. Establishing a guardianship, however, can be very expensive as well as time consuming. With a power of attorney in place, a guardianship can oftentimes be avoided.

In addition to a power of attorney, you should also consider executing a HIPAA form. If you have ever tried to get updated medical information about a loved one over the phone from a medical center, you know how difficult this can be and it is due, in large part, to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which restricts who has access to the medical information of another. A HIPAA form will allow your college-kid to authorize you to receive updated medical information. This means, in an emergency when they are away at school, you will be authorized to call and receive updated information on their health and treatment status. Without such explicit authorization, you will likely run into some immovable roadblocks in such a situation.

Estate Planning Attorney

At Monk Law, we can help you and your college-kid prepare for the major life transitions ahead. Come talk to us about the peace of mind you can get with preparing yourself for what the future may hold. Contact the estate planning team at Monk Law today.



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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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