Summer is in full swing, but I am reminded by my intern that most colleges start in less than a month and he will be heading off to begin his college career at the University of Texas! In addition to meeting his roommate, shopping for dorm supplies and attending freshman orientation, we are preparing some legal documents for him so that his parents will have the legal ability to make health care decisions, access his medical records and manage money/financial/legal affairs for him. Once your child turns 18, parents and guardians must have formal written consent to talk with their adult child’s doctors. Doctors and office staff require consent to discuss or allow access to the adult child’s medical records. Financial institutions require a power of attorney for someone to act on your adult child’s behalf. The Medical Power of Attorney conveys power to authorized persons to talk with the doctors and to make medical decisions in the event someone is unable to do so on his own. A HIPAA Release conveys power to authorized persons to receive access to medical records from doctors and medical office staff. A Durable Power of Attorney allows the person signing the document (the principal) to designate a holder of the power (the attorney-in-fact or agent) to act on the principal’s behalf for financial matters. The power of attorney can be effective on the date that the principal signs the document or it can take effect when the principal becomes incapacitated or disabled. In all cases, it is a good idea to name more than one person. For example, if your student is heading off to college in Boston, it may be prudent to name her Great Aunt Mary (who also lives in Boston) as one of the authorized persons. In the event of an emergency, Great Aunt Mary would be able to talk your child’s doctors and consent to treatment until you arrived.
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