Once a young adult child graduates high school and leaves home, many of our clients express frustration over the inability of the parents to obtain information and make important decisions that are critical to the well-being of the young adult child. To the frustration of many of our clients, the child’s university seems to know where to send the tuition invoice, but will not allow the parent access to the child’s financial or health care records. To avoid such frustrations, the appropriate legal documents can be prepared by which a young adult would name his or her parent(s) to hold legal authority on behalf of their young adult children.
In addition to specific documents provided by the educational institution, such as the appropriate disclosure of academic records, the following three legal documents would be generally helpful:
- Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney would designate you (and/or your spouse) as your child’s Attorney-in-Fact. In that capacity, you would hold the authority to handle his/her financial affairs either in conjunction with, or in lieu of, your child’s own legal authority. The powers would include banking powers (including check-writing privileges out of any individually-owned accounts), as well as transactions over security or savings accounts. This document could be structured so that either you or your spouse can serve independently on behalf of your child.
- HIPAA Authorization. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), your child’s medical records cannot be disclosed to others, even family members. However, a signed HIPAA Authorization would designated individual(s) access to your child’s medical records, regardless of his or her health situation.
- Health Care Directive. A child’s Health Care Directive would allow you (and/or your spouse) as your child’s health care agents, to make health care decisions for your child, but if your child, by reason of poor health, is unable to make his or her own decisions. As with the Power of Attorney, the Health Care Directive could be structured to allow either one of you to act on behalf of your child.
Should you wish to retain the law firm of Erickson & Wessman, our firm would be glad to assist you and your child to have the appropriate documentation in place.