At times it can seem like the road to college is paved with paperwork. In addition to the roommate questionnaires, room and board forms and other administrative paperwork, there are three other forms that should be taken care of before your child starts college, and they are probably not ones youï¿½ve thought of before.
When your children go off to college, chances are they are or soon will be 18. When your children become legal adults, you and your spouseï¿½s legal rights in matters that concern them become limited. If you arenï¿½t prepared for that change, you could run into some unexpected legal complications.
Below are the three legal forms your college-ready child needs to fill out to ensure that you are prepared for any legal situation ahead:
1. HIPAA Release Form ï¿½ HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It lays out the regulations that doctors, insurance companies and other healthcare providers must adhere to in order to protect a patientï¿½s privacy. These regulations apply to all adults, so once your child becomes an adult, you are no longer entitled to special parent privileges, like overriding the childï¿½s right to privacy before the age of 18.
ï¿½If your student ends up in the hospital, this document, a permission slip of sorts, will allow the doctors to share information with you,ï¿½ stated Accredited Investment Fiduciary Charles C. Scott, president of Pelleton Capital Management Ltd. ï¿½And if your student is on your family health insurance plan, and you need to deal with your health insurance company about any medical claims for your student, this form is very important.ï¿½
2. Healthcare power of attorney ï¿½ A healthcare power of attorney can also be known as a medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy.
ï¿½You will need it to make health-care decisions if your student ends up in a medical crisis or has some mental health issues that make him or her unable to communicate or understand their own wishes,ï¿½ Scott said. ï¿½Some states will allow next of kin to make basic decisions, but if itï¿½s a critical situation, such as removal of life support or advanced mental health issues, without this POA, you would have to get a court order to take care of things.ï¿½
If there is a medical situation serious enough for a HIPAA release form and a healthcare POA to be applicable, you will be glad that the paperwork has already been taken care of, enabling your child to get the care you know they want as efficiently as possible and with decreased stress.
3. Living will ï¿½ A living will is a form that helps ensure your childï¿½s medical wishes are carried out no matter what. Because students typically have few possessions of substantial net worth or other assets, a will is far from their mind; however, a living will is a different matter entirely. It deals with medical issues, such as whether or not life-extending medical treatments and resuscitative measures should be used.
ï¿½Donï¿½t find out too late that your student has been admitted to a hospital and youï¿½re not authorized to discuss treatment plans or make urgent decisions regarding care,ï¿½ states Ray Martin, CBS MoneyWatch contributor. ï¿½A living will outlines the studentï¿½s wishes about life-extending medical treatment and addresses other intentions, such as organ donations.ï¿½
It is an exciting time for you and your child, so get these forms taken care of and out of the way now so you can get back to shopping for dorm supplies and celebrating the new chapter ahead.