This is the season where parents and prospective college students are completing plans to march off to college this Summer or Fall. Do not forget to ask your young adult to sign a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy. In addition, discuss with your newly minted college student in advance, how much access, you the parent, should have in their lives. Parents have no legal right to see your student’s college transcript. HIPPA rules block you from receiving any health information about your over 18-year-old child, even if they are on your health care plan and you are paying the premiums. In most cases, health care facilities understand that college students are in transition to adulthood and if faced with a serious illness requiring parental advice, they may cooperate with you. Legally, however, health care providers are not required to. After they turn18, they are 100% in charge of their finances. I suggest a Limited Power of Attorney (POW) signed by your 18-year-old child, allowing you to have access to financial matters and a health care proxy for health care. This is insurance in case of emergency. For example, if your student becomes disabled, the parent may need court approval on his or her behalf if there are no such documents. Parents are justified in assisting their college student. Your child may not have the experience of making decisions in a new situation. It’s OK to be their advisor.
Students: If you don’t have a working relationship with your biological parents, consider giving limited Power of Attorney and your Health Care Proxy to another trusted mature adult relative or friend. You should find someone trustworthy and looking out for your best interest.
Parents and Students: Please let me know how you feel about this topic and let me know if you plan to or already have a health care proxy and limited power of attorney.
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