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Pens... Paper... Power of Attorney?

College Planning

As it becomes time for students to head back to school, students entering college have a lot on their plates. It is safe to say not many of them are thinking about getting their legal documents in order while they find roommates and sign up for classes. However, considering most students entering college have recently turned 18, this can actually be an important consideration. 

When your child turns 18, often times it doesn’t feel like a large transformation has suddenly occurred. But legally, once they reach this age, parents are no longer entitled to receive medical or financial information about their child unless express permission is given by the young adult. When they go off to college, likely living on their own for the first time, this can sometimes cause a serious problem. If the student is hospitalized for any reason and the parents try to call the hospital to get information, the hospital staff would not be able to release any information to you unless the young adult had previously signed a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Form. Along the same lines, in the unfortunate event that your child is ever incapacitated and incapable of making their own decisions about their medical care, without a signed Healthcare Proxy Form, you will not be able to make healthcare decisions that you feel are in your child’s best interest. 

You can see why having these two important forms signed before your child goes off to college can make a huge difference in the event of an emergency. While you are having the discussion about these forms, you may also want to have them sign a Power of Attorney Form as well. This form would give you the ability to see their financial information, sign legal forms on their behalf and also receive grade reports from the college. 

If you have any questions about your preparedness for college, either regarding funding needs or estate planning needs, please feel free to contact the team here at Woodside Wealth.