By Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Lawyer
- Go to the bank for them
- Talk to their doctor
- Talk to the school about grades (even if you are writing the checks)
For example, imagine your child is in an accident while away at college and gets taken to the emergency room. You call to get an update on her condition only to find out the hospital will not release this information because the child, now over 18, did not prepare a health care power of attorney which would allow this information to be released. From a medical standpoint, if something happens to your child when they’re away at college, as the parents, you have no legal rights.
There is a simple solution to this problem. Before heading off to college, get both a Health Care Power of Attorney and a General Durable Power of Attorney. This will allow you to access medical and non-medical items, such as grades, school records, school bank accounts and the like. You can then make medical and financial decisions when your child is unable to do so. Most people will never need to use these documents. Those who do will be glad that they planned ahead.
Sit down with your college-bound child and a lawyer to discuss how to protect their health and finances with proper power of attorney(s) in place.