Pack these crucial documents with your college-bound child 

Casey Bear |

Sending a child off to college is rarely easy, but for parents who have spent 18 years actively involved in caring for their child, the autonomy college students need can make the transition even harder to manage.  

While this new independence aids in the development of the young adult, rare medical circumstances could arise and leave the student unable to handle his or her own affairs.  In advance of their departure, parents should prepare for the unlikely event that their college student may need their hands-on care once again with these three legal documents: 

1.    HIPAA authorization— Due to the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), parents have no legal right to their adult children’s medical records or other healthcare-related information, even if the student is still on his or her parents’ medical insurance. A HIPPA authorization allows a student’s health information to be used by or disclosed to the parent, which is especially helpful when the parent is hundreds or thousands of miles away.

2.    Healthcare power of attorney—This document allows the student to designate a parent to be their agent in the event they’re no longer able to make decisions regarding their own healthcare.  Even from a distance, parents can then be legally consulted about their college student’s medical treatments in the unlikely event he or she should become incapacitated.

3.    Durable power of attorney— If a student becomes mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to perform routine activities on their own, this document gives a parent authority to make financial transactions or sign legal documents on the student’s behalf.  This might include paying rent and negotiating terms of a lease or settling school tuition charges and housing fees.

While no one likes to consider worst-case scenarios, these legal documents make it much easier for parents to step in and assist their college-aged children in the unlikely event of an emergency.  For assistance setting up these authorizations before your college student departs, contact your Cranbrook Wealth financial professional