Must-Haves For All College Bound Students

The headlines over the past few months, have been focused around the stock market volatility, summer activities and the COVID-19 crisis.

However, for some individuals who are currently involved in summer activities, is the fact that their college age children will be attending and traveling to college campuses in some capacity, while others maybe attending virtually from their bedrooms at home.

As you are completing shopping for school supplies or dorm room furnishings, you should also be thinking about what would happens to my child’s medical needs when they are away from home and do I have access to my child’s medical professionals and records?

Legally, when a child turns eighteen, he or she becomes a legal adult. The law considers adult children capable of making their own decisions and permits them full legal privacy. Your rights as a legal guardian have ended. With this in mind, you will encounter hurdles trying to access this medical information without the following forms in place.

Financial Power of Attorney 

The first document to add to your college working documents is the financial power of attorney (“POA”). In a POA, your child will appoint you as an agent to make financial and related decisions or actions on behalf of him or her in the event of need. Great example would be if you need to access their banking account to wire money for books or a new computer.

Medical Power of Attorney 

A medical power of attorney appoints you as an agent to make medical related decisions on behalf of your child. Imagine your child is playing intramural sports and is knocked unconscious.   Without this power of attorney, you may be denied the ability to help your child and be forced to get court approval when you really need to get your child immediate medical assistance.

HIPAA Authorization

A HIPAA authorization permits doctors and healthcare providers to share health information with a list of individuals authorized by your child. Otherwise, HIPAA law generally prohibits medical personnel from discussing your adult child’s health information with you.

Build in Flexibility 

Working with your attorney, your child’s needs can be customized to be flexible where their desires and wishes can be broad or very specific. Each document can be customized to fit your child’s needs. You may also want to think about including provisions into the power of attorney document which account for digital assets encompassing content of electronic communications or access to social media sites. Each one of these documents can be drafted by your attorney and can also be made to be effective only for a certain period of time, such as for the four years of your child’s college career.

Next Steps

While addressing these items can feel overwhelming, they are the last thing you want to worry about during an emergency. Work with your financial advisor or a legal professional to help you navigate the complexities of these documents so you have a plan in place when it matters most.  


This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.