Don’t Send Your Child off to College Without This

August 11, 2020

As high school students finish their senior year of high school and head off to college, their summers are typically filled with graduation parties and goodbyes as they prepare for college. Students schedule their classes and make trips to Target to get ready for the school year, but one important detail is rarely discussed. Most college freshmen are 18 years old, which means they are now legal adults.

When students go away to college, many of them hundreds of miles away from home, parents may find themselves in difficult situations where they have limited access to their child’s information when they need it most.

Accidents Happen

Consider the following scenario:  A college freshman leaves Illinois to enroll at the University of Colorado Boulder. One weekend, their son hits the slopes and gets into a skiing accident and is rushed to the hospital. The student’s friend calls his parents to let them know what happened and the parents immediately want to speak with the Doctor. In most instances, the Doctor is not allowed to share health information with parents in the absence of an important document.

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document that appoints another individual to make personal and health care decisions for that person. This Power of Attorney for Health Care can be a document that is signed and effective immediately, or it can become effective after certain events (someone’s incapacity, for instance).

If the college student had signed a Power of Attorney for Health Care that allowed his parents the ability to make medical decisions and get information on their son’s health and current condition, they would have been able to get that information from 1,000 miles across the country.

We suggest that parents have these important conversations with their children before they leave for school. Feel free to reach out to your BDF team to have them walk you through this process.