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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

Essential Emergency Documents for Sending a Kid to College

One minute you're dropping them off at the first day of kindergarten, then you blink and they're getting ready for college. It's always emotional to send your child off to school, the first test of the wings they've been growing since they were little. This year, it's especially challenging, as colleges in particular are making changes to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As a parent, this is a major milestone--you've successfully gotten your child through school and to adulthood! It might also come with major life changes: for some, it means becoming an empty-nester, down-sizing, or other life changes.

We both know that just because a child turns 18, it doesn't mean the training wheels are off completely. You're still going to be there when your child faces challenges, disappointments, and heartbreaks.

As far as the law is concerned, your child is an adult. The law doesn't really have training wheels. The 18th birthday is a bright line between childhood and adulthood.

Between getting the extra-long twin sheets for the dorm bed and getting your child vaccinated for meningitis, there's another task on the college-to-do list you have to tackle. They need a healthcare power of attorney in order for you to make medical decisions for them.

If the worst happened--if your child went to college and got sick and was unable to speak for herself--you wouldn't automatically have the authority to make her medical choices for her. There's no reason to leave this up to chance when it's simple and straightforward to make a healthcare power of attorney document to give you peace of mind and protect your child in the event of an emergency.

Other emergency documents include a living will and a HIPAA authorization form, which would give you access to your child's medical records--which are otherwise protected by HIPAA. There have been cases when a parent cannot even find out if a child is at the hospital because HIPAA laws are strict and difficult to navigate. We can help.

Even if your child isn't going off to college, whether they're choosing to work, go into the military, hike the Appalachian Trail, or anything else, they are still an adult in the eyes of the law. It's time to make sure they have emergency documents in place.

If you need to make an estate plan, we'll include your college-age children's healthcare power of attorney documents with your plan. Call our office today to learn more: 970-879-1572.

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