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Before Your Child Leaves For College

August 17, 2023

By Thomas McCutcheon

Students heading off to college soon should leave a few important things behind for their parents. 

Once children turn 18, parents no longer have automatic access to their financial accounts or medical records.  This can cause major headaches if a child needs urgent help with their finances or is injured while away at college. 

Before Your Child Leaves For College

With a universal HIPAA form, parents can do something as simple as obtain of copy of U.S. lab results for a child on an overseas program.  It can also be important for situations when parents are far away and need information on their child’s care.  

A healthcare proxy, also known as a healthcare power of attorney, allows a trusted individual to make medical decisions for the young adult if he or she is unable to do so.  State specific forms may be available through AARP.  

Situations arise in which parents might want to pay for their young adult’s rent or credit-card bill to avoid late fees and an impact on credit scores.  But the parents might not have access to the student’s passwords to pay bills online.  

Having a durable power of attorney can be a way to step in and help without having to seek judicial permission to act on the child’s behalf.  

While young adults typically can stay on their parent’s health-insurance plan until they are 26 years old, some families, for cost or other reasons, may choose to purchase a school’s insurance plan instead.  In these cases, parents might want to consider having access to the plan if they want information on billing and coverage. 

mccutcheon & hamner

Often, the barrier that surprises parents most is that while they might be paying the college tuition bill, they don’t have access to the grades.  That is due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or Ferpa.  To gain access to their child’s academic, financial aid, student account and/or disciplinary records, parents need the student to sign a Ferpa waiver.  Students can typically fill out this waiver online, but policies can vary by school. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!  256-764-0112

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