Sending your child to college: two planning considerations
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
WOW! Can you believe your child (or children) are old enough to be going to college? Well I’m excited for you! I’m sure you are wondering how will their first semester go, who will be their new friends, which groups/clubs will they join, how will their grades be, and a myriad of other concerns. These are all things we all think about, but can I add a couple more?
While your child may not have any assets (yet), once he or she turns 18, your child is considered an adult—legally, but otherwise may be up to dispute. While you are constantly teaching your children to survive in the world, there are some changes about to happen to your relationship that you may not be aware of that can create a complicated situation if you haven’t planned for them.
Specifically, I suggest you and your child have a frank discussion because you will no longer have access to their medical records nor be able to manage their financial accounts. There are two documents that we can create that will allow you to continue to help your child, especially during college.
Simple Documents to Solve Complicated Situations:
Before your child is college bound, you should consider completing the following basic estate planning documents:
Healthcare Directive with HIPAA Authorization
This form allows you to be a medical agent for your child. That means that you can have access to their records and make medical decisions for them if they are incapacitated or too ill to make a decision. This is an important form because once your child becomes 18 years of age, he or she is protected by HIPAA laws. This means health care professionals cannot provide medical information without your child’s signed consent, even though your child may still be on your health insurance. If there is no signed HIPAA release at the time, then you may need a court order to be able to access your child’s health information.
Of note, each university or college may have its own form of medical release documents. While these are no substitute for an Advance Health Care Directive, signing the school’s documents in advance will likely speed up the process in assisting your child in his or her healthcare needs. Granted, these forms would only work for the specific institution, like the university’s health center, and not for other hospitals or emergency rooms.
For your convenience, I have included links to some of the universities in Utah that have these forms:
You can also fill out an Advance Health Care Directive Form on my website for FREE! The form is found HERE. If you have questions filling out the form, please contact me.
Power of Attorney
This form grants an agent (you) the ability to manage your child’s finances, rental agreements, and other important financial considerations on behalf of your child.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Many parents are actively involved in their college-aged children’s care and responsibility. Nonetheless, turning 18 changes the legal landscape when it comes to your rights to address your child’s needs. Preparing a legal plan for your college student ahead of time will greatly reduce any legal hurdles you may face as a family while he or she is attending college.
You can always contact me at 435-777-4740 by calling or texting and I will work with you to set up a plan that is specific to you and the needs of your family.