Three Documents They Forgot to Mention at Freshman Orientation

Three Documents They Forgot to Mention at Freshman Orientation

September 05, 2017
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Social media feeds have been filling up recently with pictures of students moving into college dorm rooms. Moms and dads tearfully hugging embarrassed kids (who will in all likelihood cry as soon as their parents leave) while unloading SUVs full of clothes, bedding, and other supplies. My own college move in day involved a buzz cut, new uniforms, 90 degree temperatures with no air conditioning, and a lot of yelling. Fun times!

Did you know that as a parent, once your child turns 18, you are legally cut off from any medical and financial information about them? You may be paying the tuition, room and board, and health insurance, but unless you have specific legal documents in place, you are essentially a stranger. Here are the three documents you need to have signed and on file:

A HIPAA Form (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Form) gives medical professionals permission to share information about their patient (your child).

A Medical Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy allows you (the parent or other designated person) to make health-care decisions when a person is incapable of doing it themselves.

Finally, a General Power of Attorney can allow you to sign papers on the behalf of the child, help manage their financial accounts, and even access academic information like grades.

A quick internet search will lead you to generic versions of all the forms you need. Be advised that some forms may be state specific. If you are not comfortable with the do-it-yourself model, then contact your favorite local attorney for guidance. We may know one or two as well.