Add This to Your ‘Parent Preparedness’ List

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By: Brenda McRae

If your son or daughter is a high school senior, you are no doubt entering a summer full of excitement getting your student ready for college. It’s a time of meeting roommates, furnishing dorm rooms, and making sure your child has what he or she needs to take this first step toward autonomy (including being able to manage their money; see our blog post “Personal Finance 101”).

One of the most important things to do (and one that may not be on your long list of “to-dos”) is to make sure that you have legal documents in place that allow you to intervene on behalf of your student in case of a medical emergency.  Remember, in the eyes of the law, when your son or daughter turns 18, he or she is an adult and you are no longer allowed access to medical records and information.

Some documents to consider are:

  • HIPAA Authorization Form  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) safeguards access to an adult’s private health data.  The authorization form must be signed by your student naming you as an authorized party.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney  In order to make medical decisions for your student if they become incapacitated, you will need a Healthcare Power of Attorney, signed by your student, naming you as their medical agent.  Without such a form, healthcare decisions would be made by healthcare providers.
  • Durable Power of Attorney  If your student becomes incapacitated, this form allows you to manage bank accounts, pay bills, and handle other financial and legal matters.

While it isn’t necessary to have a lawyer draw up these documents — there are versions of all three available online — it is advisable, particularly if your student is going to school in a different state.  An attorney can ensure that the documents conform to the laws of both states.  Either way, be sure to keep the original documents in a safe place and store digital copies that you can access anywhere.

Although we hope that your emergency plans are never needed, we encourage you to make some just in case.



Nothing contained herein constitutes financial, legal, tax, or other advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Carolinas Investment Consulting. The information published herein is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or recommendation to sell or an offer to buy securities, investment products or investment advisory services. All information, views, opinions and estimates are subject to change or correction without notice. The appropriateness of an investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s circumstances and objectives. These opinions may not fit to your financial status, risk and return preferences. Past performance is not indicative of future returns.

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