As new college students pack their bags for a new adventure, there are crucial matters beyond textbooks and dorm essentials that demand your attention. Legal documents might not be the most thrilling aspect of college preparation, but they are undeniably essential, especially considering students’ newfound legal status as an adult. Here are 4 legal documents that every college-bound or new legal adult should have in place.
General Durable Power of Attorney
Upon reaching the age of 18, your child is considered a legal adult. This means that you, as parents, no longer have the automatic legal authority to make financial decisions on their behalf. A General Durable Power of Attorney (POA) is vital because it grants you, as parents, the legal authority to manage your child’s financial affairs if they become incapacitated. Whether it’s paying bills, managing bank accounts, or handling other financial matters, having a POA ensures that you can continue to support your child in times of need.
Another critical aspect of your child turning 18 is their medical privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents healthcare providers from sharing medical information about your child without their consent. By signing a HIPAA authorization, your child allows you access to their medical records, ensuring you can make informed decisions and provide necessary support in medical emergencies.
Health Care Power of Attorney
In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical decisions might need to be made swiftly. A Health Care Power of Attorney designates someone to make these decisions on your child’s behalf. Without this document, you, as parents, may not have the legal authority to participate in crucial medical choices, even if you are the primary source of emotional and financial support.
Lastly, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents educational institutions from sharing academic records with anyone, including parents, once the student turns 18. A FERPA release signed by your child allows you access to their educational records, enabling you to offer guidance, support, and assistance with academic matters, scholarships, and financial aid.
Establishing these essential legal documents is not just a formality; it’s a proactive step to ensure that you, as parents, can continue to protect and support your child as they transition into adulthood. At Beaupre Law we strongly advise you to consider these documents as part of your child’s college preparations. If you have any questions or need assistance in drafting these legal instruments, please reach out to us at Beaupre Law.