Documents needed for College Bound Kids
MUST HAVE DOCUMENTS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN OVER 18
Your baby has turned 18… Happy Birthday! Now she can vote, buy a car or a house. In most states, she can get married without your consent. She can also gamble her college savings away and go to jail without you knowing it. All this because in the eyes of the law, she is now an adult and can fly on her own. This means that you, as parents, can no longer make any legal decisions for her or receive any information that the law considers to be private.
The practical implications of this milestone are serious. For example:
If your child suffers a medical emergency, you will not have access to her medical information and will not be able to make medical decisions on her behalf.Likewise, you will not be able to discuss her health with her regular physician. If you child is in college, you will not be notified of her grades, transcripts or enrollment status. If she has her own bank account, you will not have access to it in case of emergency either.
No need to panic though, there are steps you can take to protect her? Here are some basic documents you will need.
- Medical or Health Care Power of Attorney: A “power of attorney” is a legal document that gives you, the agent, the power to act on behalf of your child if she is incapacitated and cannot make decisions for herself. A medical power of attorney gives you the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of your child. In Ohio, a medical power of attorney needs to be signed in front of two adult eligible to witness or the signing must be acknowledged by a notary.
- HIPAA Disclosures Authorization. The federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) prohibits health care providers from disclosingyour child’s health records to you (or anyone else for that matter) unless she has provided the provider a HIPAA release form. If a HIPAA release form is not included in the health care power of attorney, a separate form should be signed. A HIPAA release form can be as general or as specific as your child wants. Therefore, she should not fear disclosure of sensitive information that she may not want to share with you.
- Financial Power of Attorney: A financial power of attorney is another legal document that gives you, the agent the ability to manage your child’s finances in the event that she becomes incapacitated and unable to make financial decisions for herself.
- FERPA Release: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 gives students age 18 and older important rights, including the right to keep their education records, such as grades, transcripts and disciplinary records private. Accordingly, once your child turns 18, unless she signs a FERPA release form, you will not have access to your child’s education records. Even though most colleges notify parents of this requirement, the form may be get overlooked or lost in the pile of papers families received upon enrollment.
- Durable Power of Attorney:A durable power of attorney (“POA”) enables a parent or other designated agent to take care of business on the student’s behalf. If your child becomes incapacitated or studies abroad, you would be able to, for example, sign her tax returns, access bank accounts, pay bills or merely renew her car registration. Durable POA forms vary by state. In some states the medical POA can be included in the durable POA form.
Powers of attorneys can be revoked at any time in writing and a HIPAA authorization can be cancelled in writing by following the instructions on the HIPAA form itself.
And don’t forget that the Affordable Care Act requires plans and issuers that offer dependent child coverage to make the coverage available until a child reaches the age of 26. Both married and unmarried children qualify for this coverage. This rule applies to all plans in the individual market and to all employer plans.
– Written by Sylvie Derrien, Esq., Statman Harris & Eyrich, LLC
If you have any questions regarding any of these documents, please contact a Statman attorney at (513) 621-2666.