Consider these 3 important documents
Provided by Meld University
The time has come. Your little one is all grown up and ready to leave for college. You’ve racked your brain to make sure you’ve provided them with everything they need to start this journey. You may have purchased a new computer or maybe even a new car to make sure they have every advantage on their new journey. At this point, your 18 years of experience in raising this child and attending to their every need, in conjunction with multiple trips to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, you’re probably feeling confident that your child will have their needs met. But you’re likely forgetting one very important fact.
Most of your parental rights are lost when your child turns 18
The moment your child turns 18 years old, the government considers them to be their own person. This means you may no longer have the parental rights that you enjoyed while they were growing up. This makes sense as there must be a time in a child’s life when they take responsibility for themselves.
The problem arises when a child has an accident or other situation that makes them incapable of speaking for themselves. If the child can’t give the medical professionals permission to share their medical information, you may not be able to provide help or guidance to the medical staff. This can leave parents alienated and powerless in the event of a worst-case scenario.
These 3 documents can protect your rights as a parent while your child is still under your guardianship
Before you send your child off to college, discuss the following 3 documents with them and the risks associated with not having these documents on hand in a worst-case scenario:
1. Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney, also known as a health-care-proxy, provides the authority for another person (in your case, a parent) to make health care decisions when the patient cannot make those decisions themselves. By having this document, you would have the ability to make critical healthcare or end of life decisions in the event of a worst-case scenario. In the event of a coma, this document would be critical to allowing you to make the best decisions for your child.
2. Durable Power of Attorney
When obtaining a medical power of attorney, it may be smart to secure a durable power of attorney as well. This would allow you to sign other official documents on the student’s behalf, as well as provide you access to grades and other financial documents. Per Pat Burris, CFP of Meld Financial, “a child is legally a stranger to his or her parents when he or she turns 18.” This means most of your rights as a guardian are gone unless you have a power of attorney in place.
3. HIPAA Release
A signed HIPAA release form must be obtained from a patient before their protected health information can be shared with other individuals or organizations, per HIPAA Journal. That is why it’s critical that you have this document before your child leaves for college. Nothing can be more hurtful or frustrating than to be denied information about your child after an accident because they have passed their 18th birthday. Be sure you have access to critical information about your child’s well-being by obtaining this document and keeping it in a safe place.
In order to make sure you are protected, keep these documents in a safe place and maintain electronic copies on your mobile devices. This way you have access to the documents in an instant while making certain the official copies are safe.
We know starting a discussion about this with your child or even thinking about these terrible situations can be very difficult. Our hope is that you will never need to use these documents. But, should you be so unfortunate to need them, they can help reduce the stress and heartache you and your family might be experiencing. No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s best to be prepared.
If you need assistance with any of these documents, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss.
Securities offered through Triad Advisors, LLC . Member FINRA/SIPC.
Advisory services offered through Meld Financial, Inc.
Triad Advisors and Meld Financial are not affiliated.
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