Three Documents For Your 18 Year Old


Don't Leave Home Without It:

The Documents Every College Student Needs

Undeniably, the holiday season can be full of hustle and bustle.  While shopping, cooking, and wrapping may keep you preoccupied, it is important to discuss a few legal matters before your young adult returns to college.  That’s right.  Legal matters. Now that your child is 18 years old, your “little baby” is legally in charge of his own life.  This means that you are no longer entitled make medical or financial decisions for him or even talk to his doctor, unless you have the right paperwork in place. So while running from the mall to the post office in preparation for the holidays, you may want to stop at your attorney’s office to have Junior sign the following documents (which likely costs less than his stocking stuffers):

Health Care Proxy: The risk of accidents is real.  According to one Forbes study, accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults, and one quarter million Americans between the ages of 18-25 are hospitalized each year. Unfortunately, even though you are still paying for health insurance for your child, you do not have the authority to make medical decisions on his behalf.  Without a validly signed Health Care Proxy, the only way to make these types of decisions is by going to Court - and this is likely the last place you want to be if your child is undergoing a medical crisis. 

HIPAA Release and Authorization:  By now, most have heard that there have been significant laws put into place for the protection of a medical patient’s privacy. These protections governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, are effective once an individual reaches the age of 18.  This means that health care providers and medical facilities are legally prohibited from releasing medical information to you about your young adult, unless you have the proper documents in place.  A HIPAA Release and Authorization signed by your child will give authorization to the pertinent hospital or doctor to share information with you.

Power of Attorney This document provides Mom and/or Dad with the authority to sign documents and manage financial affairs if your child is not available to do so. (Filing tax returns and managing left behind bank accounts, for example.)  This is an especially important document when your child is attending college or studying abroad because even though you are paying the tuition, the school contract is between the university and your child.  This means that the administration may not release academic records or transcripts to you without proper authority. Having this document in place may provide that authority.

You don’t have to be a helicopter parent to need these documents.  As you may explain to your child, they are in place for the protection of both you and him and provide peace of mind in the case of emergency. 

Click below to schedule an appointment today, before your 18 year old returns on his adult adventure.

Erica Endyke