Legal Instruments Needed When Your “Child” Goes to College

As August approaches, thousands of new high school graduates will make the pilgrimage to college, dorm life, new friends and experiences and decision making. As the song says, how fast they go from “crayons to perfume.”

Parents often forget that their children are now over eighteen and are considered adults in the eyes of the law.

When my youngest went to college two years ago, my wife and I were surprised at the speed of our irrelevance (except when bills are due). From the afternoon of freshman registration and thereafter, we were really the “fifth wheel.” Grades and bills were to be sent to the student and he had to grant us passwords for access.

As a flashback to memories past, I vividly remember my parents in the driveway waving goodbye as I anxiously left home for college – they seemed so old. Recently, I was shocked to realize that when my youngest son left my wife and I were older than my “old” parents! Now that they are “of age” and away from home your child should have three important legal instruments. They should have a Health Care Power of Attorney to allow an appointed agent to make decisions regarding selecting doctors, treatments and pain control in the event that they are in a circumstance where they cannot communicate their heath care wishes. They should have a living will in the event of a severe accident or health emergency and, lastly, a financial power of attorney in the event that an agent is needed to handle their bank accounts/finances.

Perhaps of equal importance is a method in which to find your child’s important documents and your contact information in a time of emergency. For the last ten years or so, our clients have used a service that makes your contacts and instruments a vailable 24×7. Our attorneys are available to assist.