You have helped them shop for dorm essentials, purchased them a new laptop, and even dropped them off for freshman orientation. However, one thing you may not have considered is making sure that that they have their legal papers in order.
In the race to high school graduation and then college, parents may forget that their child is now (or soon will be) a legal adult. This means that arrangements must be made if you wish to continue to have input into any medical care they receive or financial documents that are in their name. Many experts suggest a list of important papers parents may want the kids to sign and/or send along with them.
Durable power of attorney
DPA enables you to sign important papers (such as tax returns) if they are away from home, out of the country or unwilling or unable to address important decisions on their own. This can specify a certain window of time.
Health care documents
They may be legal adults, but the fact is that there is likely going to be instances where they will need a doctor, particularly if they are involved in athletics. Once kids are 18, parents do not automatically have access to medical information, nor can they make decisions regarding care. Documents you may want include:
- Medical Durable Power of Attorney: The child designates a medical advocate who can make medical decision if they are unable to do so. While these are typically used by families with members who are elderly or specials needs, it can be applied to anyone.
- HIPAA authorization form: This form signed by the student enables parents to access to medical records and make decisions regarding treatment.
Extra creditOther documents that will come in handy include:
- Passport: If they haven’t needed one already, or it has expired, it is recommended that they get a new passport.
- Auto insurance: Notify your agent if they are taking a car to school and make sure that there is a card with the registration and owner’s manual.
Parenting is ongoing
Ideally, these arrangements will no longer be necessary once they marry or find a partner, but they will be useful during the college years and beyond. A family law attorney can be extremely helpful in making sure these arrangements are legal and binding.