Despite the fact your college student may be relying on you for support or even living under your roof, your 18-year old child is legally an adult and entitled to the same privacy protections you are. If your child hasn’t given you legal authority through a Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, or HIPAA authorization, you may not be able to act when your child needs you most.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled “Why Your College-Age Child Needs an Estate Plan.” In the article, an attorney shared stories about clients who were unable to speak to doctors treating their injured and unconscious children. The article explains: “Few 18-year-olds consider the need for an estate plan, simply because most have little in the way of property. But if your child were to lose the ability to make or communicate decisions, medical professionals might refuse to consult with or even release information to you.” Don’t let this happen to you.
With National College Decision Day looming, take steps now to discuss a HIPAA (gives medical practitioners permission to share medical information with certain, named people), a Medical Power of Attorney (gives a person authority to make healthcare decisions while the patient is unable to), and a Durable Power of Attorney (allows a parent to access their student’s financial accounts and act on their behalf to pay bills, speak to a landlord, or replace a lost debit card) with your student.
Blog post by Julie Goodkind.