There are 4 Legal Documents Your College-Age Child Needs

If you have a college-age child, they are probably 18 years old. If so, they are an adult in the eyes of the law, which means that mom and dad no longer have automatic access to certain information and may need court authority to make medical decisions or manage money for their child in the case of an emergency. Because of this, there are 4 legal documents your college-aged child needs.

HIPAA Medical Authorization

If a medical emergency occurs, your child could be in an emergency room and you may not be able to get information about their condition. If your child signs a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Medical Authorization document, you will be able to ask for and receive information from health care providers about their status, prognosis, and treatment.

Health Care Power of Attorney

If your child is unconscious in the hospital, you may be unable to make medical decisions on their behalf without asking the probate court to appoint you as guardian of your child’s “person.” This process takes time, is costly, and often stressful. To avoid any confusion over who should make medical choices for them, your child should consider signing a Health Care Power of Attorney.

Living Will

Should your child ever become permanently unconscious (“brain dead”) or terminally ill and unable to communicate, a living will can be helpful. A living will is a person’s written instruction that they want life support and/or fluid and nutrition removed if they are permanently unconscious or terminally ill and unable to communicate. Typically, people who choose to sign a living will do so because they don’t want their loved one(s) to have the pressure of making a decision about whether to remove life support or not. If your child would not want you to have to make this decision, they may wish to sign a living will.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney (sometimes called a general durable power of attorney) allows you to sign documents for your child or handle financial matters for them. These could include managing bank accounts, filing a tax return, or renewing a car registration, etc. If your child will be spending a summer far away as a camp counselor, or studying abroad for a year, a financial power of attorney becomes even more important.

Access to Grades (Bonus)

Don’t forget that even though you might be paying the tuition and room & board that you don’t automatically get a copy of the grade card. A Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver is a document your child can sign to give you access to the grades. For an example, here is a link to The Ohio State University FERPA Authorization to Release Information form (2023).

Does your family have these 4 legal documents your college-age child needs? If not, Golowin Legal can help. Call us today at (614) 453-5208 to schedule a meeting or Zoom conference. Visit the Golowin Legal estate planning page for more information.

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