College Student? Have These Legal Documents on Hand

Edited by Rory Clark

Our kids grow up so quickly that we forget the laws that protect the privacy of adults automatically kick into place when our children turn 18. Your College student needs a thoughtful yet straightforward plan. This plan allows those they trust most to access important information and make critical decisions in medical and financial emergencies.

They’ll need certain critical documents in place. This including an Advance Medical Directive and Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney with HIPPA Authorizations. These vital documents will allow you, as the parent, to obtain information about them in the event of an emergency.

Fill Out These Forms With Your College Student

According to an article in the National Law Review, three forms are required of parents and college students. Each of the forms below should be kept in its original condition, and the student should have copies. It may be prudent to inform a roommate or fellow student of the location of the documents. Additionally, the family may wish to inquire whether a copy can be filed with the student’s medical records at the school.

Bear in mind that all of these documents should be updated annually. You will need one in your state of residence and another in the state of residence of your child if they attend an out-of-state school.

HIPAA Form for your College Student:

Have you ever attempted to obtain an update on a loved one in the hospital over the phone following the sudden onset of a medical issue?

If so, you are aware that obtaining the information you require can be difficult, if not impossible, if you are not authorized. This is as a result of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

To cut through the red tape, you’ll need a HIPAA form. This document enables a patient (in this case, your college student) to designate specific family members, friends, and others to receive updates on their medical status during treatment. Your student should complete this form well in advance of needing it in the event of a medical emergency.

If your child is away at school and is involved in an accident, the HIPAA form becomes critical. This is because you will not receive any information over the phone, even though you are their parent — unless you complete this form.

The HIPAA release form for college students is the same as the form for everyone else. For a list of HIPAA forms by state, click here.

Medical Power of Attorney: 

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that appoints you, the parent, as the student’s “medical agent.” If your child becomes medically unable to make decisions for themselves, you can make informed medical choices on their behalf.

This document may appoint you as the sole contact and decision-maker. This will enable you to collaborate with the doctors on the best course of action. What happens if you do not have a durable power of attorney for healthcare in place? Doctors will make care decisions.

General Durable Power of Attorney: 

A medical power of attorney is solely for health care decisions if your son or daughter becomes disabled. However, a general durable power of attorney includes financial decisions.

This document enables a college student to delegate financial/legal decision-making authority to another person (the parents). Additionally, it allows parents to conduct the following financial transactions on behalf of the student:

Bank account management

Paying bills

Filing taxes

Obtaining government assistance

Lease termination

Special Tools For Young People:

College is an exciting time of transition for both parents and their children. Young adults are adjusting to their first experience of independence. While we hope our children are as careful and mindful of the world as we have taught them to be, parents are no longer there to shelter and protect.

Because of the tools available within the Legacy Elder Law Center’s unique plan for young adults, you will be able to communicate with health professionals. You may make emergency decisions, work with college professors and finance offices, as well as deal with landlords and housing departments. Contact us today for our Young Adult Planning

About the author

Rory Clark

Rory has more than 30 years’ experience practicing elder law, estate planning, asset protection, Veteran’s affairs, and special needs planning. Through his personal journey, Rory not only understands the complex legal issues involved as a professional but also the intense emotional issues as a caregiver.