College Bound? Get a Power of Attorney for your student!

 It’s back to school time, and if you have college-age children, you may be helping them get organized to leave home.  Being on your own is wonderful and exciting and scary all at the same time.  But it  also brings legal irresponsibility and consequences.  If your child is 18 years old, federal privacy laws protect their financial and medical information. Parents can not access medical or financial information, even in an emergency, unless provisions are made.  Protect yourself and your child.

The following article was posted on www.hometownlife.com

Power of attorney forms good for parents of college-age kids

Written by
Rick Bloom
Guest Columnist
Parents who have children getting ready to go to college need to make sure that they do some important things with regards to personal finance. One area that is extremely important is powers of attorney.

When your child is ready to go to college, they are at least 18 years of age which means they are a legal adult. As a legal adult, they have legal responsibilities, but as the parent, you find that your rights are dramatically diminished.

In that regard, two documents I strongly recommend obtaining are a medical durable power of attorney and a general durable power of attorney. From a medical standpoint, if something happens to your child when they’re away at college, as the parents, you have no legal rights.

I’ve heard many stories where a child has a medical issue and the parents are kept in the dark. I’ve heard horror stories where children are injured at school and the parents are forced to go to court to get medical information. The last thing anyone should want to do is to go to court when there is a medical emergency. Therefore, before your child goes away to college, make sure that they sign a medical durable power of attorney.

Do it yourself

You don’t have to pay anyone to do a medical durable power of attorney. You can do it on your own. There is a free fill-in-the-blank form available to print on my website. It’s a simple and straightforward form and I recommend it for parents with a child going away to school and also if you have any adult children that are your dependents. Remember, we live in a crazy world and just because you’re the parent and you provide the financial support for your adult child, doesn’t mean you have any rights.

Another type of document that you may wish to obtain for your college student is a general durable power of attorney. This power of attorney will allow you to handle your child’s affairs above and beyond medical. It could be dealing with a financial institution or even with their university. Once again, if there was some sort of accident and your child could not handle his/her own affairs, having a general durable power of attorney would allow you to step in without getting judges, courts and lawyers involved.

Insurance

When I went to college, the most expensive thing that someone owned was a cheap stereo. Today, that is no longer the case. Kids have computers, cell phones, iPads and all sorts of valuable stuff. The question is whether or not you need insurance on these items. If you do, now is a great time to talk to your homeowner’s agent to see if those types of items are covered.

Sending a child to college is not as easy as it used to be. That is why now is a great time of the year to do the things that are needed so you’re not rushing at the last moment. I know with these temperatures it’s hard to believe that Labor Day is little over a month away. And before you know it, you’ll be packing up your loved one for college. Don’t procrastinate; the time to get it done is now. Good luck!

Rick Bloom is a fee-only financial adviser. Observer & Eccentric readers can submit questions atmoneymatters@hometownlife.com .For more information, visit his website at www.bloomassetmanagement.com.

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