The Christmas decorations are back in the attic, the new year’s resolutions are in full force, and sadly, my oldest has headed back to college. Right before Christmas, my husband and I had to rush to College Station to meet her at the emergency room. First thing the hospital staff asked me when we arrived was whether she had a medical power of attorney.
As an estate planning attorney, I had prepared her Will and powers of attorney right after she turned 18. But it reminded me that not everyone considers it important to have estate planning documents for their adult children. Estate planning is more than just a Will; it’s also incapacity planning and making sure that, as parents, you have access to certain private information if needed. These basic powers of attorney are essential for every college student, whether they live at home or at college:
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney – Most college students are still on their parents’ payroll. Even though you pay their expenses, you have no authority over their individual accounts. My daughter has her own bank account and credit card that we use for college expenses. What happens if she is traveling and has an issue that she can’t handle?
- Medical Power of Attorney – This form allows the student to name an agent to make their medical decisions if they unable to make them for themselves.
- HIPAA Release – For 18-plus years you have raised this child, and now to hear that you don’t have authority to access their medical information can be a shock. If your child has an accident while at school, you may be prevented from receiving medical updates regarding their treatment. A HIPAA Release is necessary for you to access your adult child’s protected medical information.
You have always been your child’s protector and advisor, but after they turn 18 you are legally limited to how much assistance you can provide. Powers of Attorney will allow you to step back into that role in the event of an emergency. Give us a call at 281-362-9909 to see how we can assist with the preparation of these important documents.