Your graduating senior may still be your baby, but in the eyes of the law he or she is an ADULT!
That means you can no longer make important medical or financial decisions for your child without their permission. But your job of being a PARENT doesn’t stop just because your child turns 18. If there’s a medical emergency or your child asks for financial help, you NEED the ability to cut through the legal red tape and get involved.
FACT: Doctors, hospitals or financial institutions (i.e. college business offices, student loan processing agents, banks, etc) will NOT bend the rules on this! It’s against privacy laws. You must have 3 KEY DOCUMENTS in place to make important medical or financial decisions on your child’s behalf. Even something as simple as a status update would be refused!
It’s easier to see this need in case of medical emergencies, but financial decisions are as equally concerning. Millions of college students fall prey to the “predatory” lenders on campus, all promising money through student credit cards and student loans. You need to be legally able to assist and safeguard the financial wellbeing of your new adult.
You need to ensure you do not fall prey these lenders yourself through cosigning for credit cards, student loans, etc. As a Mississippi bankruptcy attorney, I often I see young adults who have run up enormous debt during college and are now facing lawsuits and garnishments. I also see parents and grandparents are also facing the same due to cosigning for their childrens loans. Student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.
I call these 3 key documents the Parent Child Protection Kit, as they will give you the legal permission you need to HELP your child! Seeking the counsel of an attorney is always recommended, however these forms are all available on the internet, free of charge, and do not require an attorney.
• Advance Health Care Directive
• Financial Power of Attorney • HIPPA Medical Release Form
Here’s wishing your new adult a hearty congratulations on their big graduation day and hoping that, through your guidance, they will never need my services!!
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.