In just a few short weeks, parents will watch their recent high school graduate get ready to start the next phase of their lives.

As parents and students prepare for college this fall, it is important to keep in mind that your child is now an adult and your legal authority to make decisions on their behalf no longer exists. Here are some planning items that we find critical for all young adults:

  • A Durable Power of Attorney which allows the child to give authority to one or more parent to make financial decisions on their behalf, either at any time or if the child is unable to do so.
  • A Health Care Proxy gives parents of children 18 years or older health care information affecting their child. At the age of 18, teens are entitled to medical record and financial privacy. Without permission, doctors cannot share information because of regulations under the federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). However, if families prepare important documents in advance of sending their children off to college, including a health care proxy, parents will be granted access to their child’s medical information.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records such as their grades and financial aid information. A FERPA waiver gives parents full access to their student’s grades and information about financial aid. We suggest you ask your child’s institution about a FERPA waiver prior to the start of school.

For additional college planning resources, please contact us to discuss.