Is Your Child 18? Going to College? Going on a Trip?
So many decisions are made at this time of life for your child. You both are going through some major adjustments as you send your son or daughter off to school, on a trip or off to work.
So, in addition to the many things you have all ready order to Protect Your Family, here are 2 more things to consider.
A Durable Power of Attorney provides for finances. What would happen if your child were incapacitated or unavailable to make financial or business decisions such as renewing a car tag or license, filing and paying taxes or completing financial transactions at their bank. Or what if your child is studying abroad and runs into issues with their passport or the authorities in another country? A Durable Power of Attorney allows a parent or designee the authority to help.
A Health Care Surrogate, or Medical Power of Attorney, allows your child to designate someone they trust to get access to their health information and to make decisions relating to their care and comfort in the event of an incapacity or if they or you need to medical assist them. Based on the HIPAA laws, medical facilities can refuse or withhold medical information of an 18+ year old’s condition, citing privacy regulations.
Here is why, this story in Campusdiscovery, May 2014,www.unigo.com provides a scenario of a 18 year old…
Two years ago, my son was at home during Spring Break when he became very ill. I rushed him to the emergency room, confident he would get the care he needed since he was still covered under my insurance plan. What never crossed my mind was whether I would have the right to know about his condition or even provide direction in his care. I was paying the bill, so I assumed I would have full disclosure just as I did when he was in high school; I totally missed the mark on that one. Although the hospital was more than happy to take my credit card for payment, it could not release any information about my son’s test results or treatment. In the eyes of the law, he was now an adult. So, there I sat for days, wondering what was wrong with my son and hoping he would soon recover. Luckily, he did pull through and was released a few days after classes had resumed on campus.
The experience in the hospital illuminated how little I could do for my son, now that he was a legal adult. I tried to contact his school, to get a list of his professors and let them know he was in the hospital, but that information was not available to me without power of attorney. I could not approve or decline tests at the hospital, nor could I get specific information on his condition. As a parent, it’s hard to come to grips with the fact that our children are no longer ‘kids’ when they head off to college, especially if we are the ones footing the bill. We feel a sense of entitlement to know what is going on in their lives and in their education. I’m not talking about those crazy helicopter parents, who stalk their child’s every move or constantly harass the college administration for grade updates, but a little information would have been nice. If you have a child heading to college this fall, here are a few reasons why you might want to consider getting power of attorney before he/she leaves.
In order to Protect Your Family, consider getting these documents for your 18+ children as you prepare for this season of parenthood.