Do you have a student? Important Documents About The Health Care, Finances, And Education They (And You) Need | Goulston & Storrs PC
August is upon us, and you may soon be sending kids to college (virtually or in person). If your child is 18 years of age or older, you and your child will need to take simple steps so that in an emergency you can make decisions about your child’s health care and finances and have access to information. medical and financial accounts. The same applies if you want to have access to your child’s school records.
Medical information. Once your child turns 18, your child is considered an adult by law and you no longer have the legal right to make health care decisions on behalf of your child or access your child’s health care information. Therefore, if you have an adult child, your child must sign certain legal documents designating you as their health worker and allowing you to access their medical information:
- Your child must perform a “Health Care Power of Attorney” appointing you as their proxy for health care decisions. In it, your child authorizes you to make health care decisions on behalf of your child if they become unable to make or communicate such decisions on their own. The child can also express his or her own wishes for medical treatment.
- Your child must also sign a “HIPAA Authorization Form”. The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (commonly known as “HIPAA”) protects the confidentiality of an individual’s medical information, and health care providers may require a patient’s written consent to share information. information with family members, including parents of an adult child. . Your child’s college or university may also have policies in place that prevent them from sharing medical information without the student’s consent. This form will serve as a written authorization authorizing those who provide health care services to your child to share medical information with you as your child’s health care worker.
- In addition, you should be in contact with the health services department of your child’s college or university. The establishment can provide its own medical information disclosure authorization form that can be kept on file with the establishment’s health services directorate.
Financial accounts. If you are to have the capacity to act on behalf of your adult child with respect to financial matters, your child must also sign a “Lasting Power of Attorney” appointing you as your child’s agent with respect to assets and the child’s finances. If your child is attending university away from home, studying abroad, or having a medical emergency, it may be helpful for you to access your child’s accounts on their behalf. This allows you to pay a child’s bills from their accounts, make deposits, and open or close accounts. In addition, an enduring power of attorney allows you to handle other financial tasks for the child, such as filing income tax returns or renewing a lease.
Educational files. Finally, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the educational records of a child who is 18 years old or who is enrolled in a post-secondary institution from the access of his parents. If the child’s parents state that the child is dependent on their tax returns, the parents can still access the child’s school records without the child’s consent. However, institutions may be reluctant to allow access to school records for any child over the age of 18 without a signed “FERPA waiver” by the child, regardless of their dependent status. If you would like to have access to your child’s school records, you may consider having them sign a FERPA waiver in advance. The establishment will usually provide the FERPA form.
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These documents are not difficult to put together and should help provide some peace of mind for you and your student.