The Legal Checkup Blog

Sending Your Child Off To College? Take Note!

Posted by Judith Flynn on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 @ 08:08 AM

As the summer winds down, parents and their teens are crowding stores like Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond for comforters, scatter rugs, microwaves, and other items to make the cramped living quarters of a dorm room feel like home.  Students feel excitement and anticipation for the new chapter that is about to unfold, with more independence and autonomy over their day to day lives.  For parents, move-in day typically brings mixed emotions.  It is the day we hoped for and the day we dread all at once.  Many parents think back to their own college experiences and the realization that it is not all about the books, and can only hope that their children exercise good judgment and make smart decisions. 

Parents know that many things can go wrong, and while we hope there are no serious issues, we need to send our children off to college prepared.  Independence sounds great until a student realizes his or her bank account is negative or, worse, ends up in an emergeny room. 

Make sure your child is truly prepared for college.  If your child is 18 or older, he or she should execute a Health Care Proxy (appointing a surrogate decision maker) with a HIPAA Release (release under health privacy law that allows medical providers to speak with you or another designated person in an emergency) and a Durable Power of Attorney to provide you or someone else with the authority to deal with their college or other entities for financial and contractual issues.  (Believe it or not, while the tuition bill is sent to your attention, the school staff will not even speak to you about the account without express authorization from your child.)

These documents are not expensive and do not require a lengthy appointment.  It would be far more expensive and inconvenient to respond to a child's emergency without these important documents in place.  They can typically be drafted after a brief phone consultation, and will be reviewed for accuracy when the child comes in to sign them. 

For more information, call us today at 781-681-6638.


Tags: Estate Planning, disability planning, family, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, parents