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  • Lynn K. Girvin, Esq.

Our College Care Package

Do you have a student going off to college for the first time or already living away at school? If so, your child will need certain important documents that will let you help them in the event of a medical emergency. Those documents include a Medical Power of Attorney (“Advance Health Care Directive”), HIPAA Release, and Durable Power of Attorney. Our College Care Package© includes all three important documents at a reasonable price. Feel good knowing that your child is covered in case of an emergency.

Medical Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document naming you the parent a “medical agent” for your college student. If your child becomes medically incapacitated, you can make informed medical decisions on their behalf based on the information provided on that form. You can be the decision maker if your adult child is unable to do so. It will allow you to decide the best course of action with the doctors.

What happens if you don’t have a healthcare power of attorney in place? The doctors will be the ones who make the decisions about care. While this may not always be a bad thing, it may go against the wishes of your child. And a healthcare provider may not take a specific course of action for liability reasons. A Medical Power of Attorney allows your child to make those informed decisions before any need arises.

HIPAA Release

Have you ever tried to get an update about a loved one who is at the hospital? As you know, it can be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to find out how someone is doing. Ever since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which requires that information relating to a person’s health be kept confidential, parents can be blocked from learning about the personal healthcare details of their adult child. What you need to cut through the red tape is a HIPAA form naming you as an authorized agent to receive private information. This document lets a patient (your college student) designate certain family members, friends and others who can be updated about their medical information during treatment.

Obviously, your student should fill this out before they need it during a medical emergency. The HIPAA form becomes extremely important if your child is living away at school and gets involved in an accident. That’s because you’re not getting any info over the phone even though you’re their parent — unless you fill out this form.

Durable Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney form is strictly for health care choices should your son or daughter become incapacitated. A general durable power of attorney, however, covers financial decisions. This document allows a college student to give authority to another person (the parents) to make financial/legal decisions. It also allows the parents to make the following financial transactions on the student’s behalf, including:

  • Manage bank accounts

  • Pay bills

  • File taxes, if necessary

  • Apply for government benefits

  • Break a lease


For each of the forms listed, parents should keep the original and the student should have copies. It may be a good idea for a roommate or fellow student to know where the copies are. In addition, the family may want to see if a copy can be filed at the school with student medical records.

Because we’re so intimately involved with raising our children, it’s tempting to see them as just that — children. But in the eyes of the law, the apron strings get cut the minute they turn 18. Once they cross that threshold into adulthood, they are no longer under your agency. That applies to matters both big and small, particularly issues related to emergency health care.

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