Have You Thought Of This When Your Child Heads Off To College?

Hi everybody, my name is Miranda Dressler and I’m an attorney with the law offices of Bridget Mackay in Petaluma, California. Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about sending kids off to college.

So, as the new school year begins a lot of parents are going to be sending their now 18-year-old kids off to college. And, it’s important to talk to your kids before they leave about the proper legal documents that they might want to have and that you might want them to have to take with them off to college. Because in the eyes of the law your 18-year-old is now legally an adult and you no longer have the right to make medical decisions for them or receive their medical records or information about their medical records without some type of authorization from them.

For example, if your child gets sick and goes to the campus clinic and you find out about it and you give the clinic a call. They’ll let you pay the bill but they’re not going to be providing you and they’re not going to be allowed to provide you with any of that confidential medical information. This is due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act also referred to as HIPA. Which is a federal law that protects the medical information of patients. It’s what provides that strong privacy protection for our medical records and our medical information.

So, as a parent before you send your kids off to college you really should talk to them about making medical decisions and ensure that the proper legal documents like a health care power of attorney, living will and a HIPA authorization for release of information are properly drafted and signed by them. Which will allow you then as the parent the right to make medical decisions for them if they can’t make them themselves. And it will give you the right to receive information about their medical issues that might be going on.

So, if you have any questions about this or any other topic you should contact an estate planning attorney in your area. Thank you.


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