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About this blog: I post articles to offer timely and substantive college admission guidance on important topics and issues. Originally from New York, I have a B.S. from Hunter College in NYC and advanced professional degrees from the University of...  (More)

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What You Need to Do Before Your Child Goes to College

Uploaded: Jul 25, 2017
Did you know that once children turn 18, parents lose the legal authority to make decisions for them? An individual who has reached the age of 18 is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. This includes the loss of parental ability to access educational information, medical records, represent them in certain situations or manage their financial affairs. Although laws and circumstances vary, in general, proper documents must be generated that grant the parent(s) the authority to act on the adult child’s behalf. As with most things in life, good planning helps to ensure greater peace of mind.

The following documents should be considered and discussed with an attorney:

1. FERPA Release: This form allows the parent(s) to speak with the school about your adult child’s grades and other information related to their school performance. Start by asking the school directly for this form, since each usually has its own document to use for this purpose.
2. Health Care Power of Attorney: This document will allow you to act on your adult child’s behalf with regard to medical decisions in the event that they are incapacitated, even temporarily, and cannot make such decisions. There are also provisions within this document that allow your adult child to express his or her wishes with regard to end of life decisions and organ donation.
3. Durable Power of Attorney: This document allows you to act on your adult child’s behalf regarding financial or legal matters. For example, you would have the ability to pay your child’s bills, apply for student loans, sign tax returns, etc.
4. HIPAA Authorization Form: Federal law prohibits disclosure of information about your child’s health. This form allows you to access your adult child’s health records and speak to medical personnel about his or her health. In the event of a medical emergency, for example, if is your child was in an accident and unconscious, you would be able obtain medical status information and make prompt decisions regarding treatment options.

It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney regarding these issues. Much of the information contained in this article is based on advice given by an attorney and distributed through various college-related and other professional organizations.

Now that you have survived the college admission process with careful planning and attention to important details, it is time to take the steps necessary to put your legal house in order and enjoy greater peace of mind during the college years ahead.

Elizabeth LaScala, PhD personally guides each student through each step of selecting and applying to well-matched colleges. With two decades of admissions experience, Elizabeth has placed hundreds of students in some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the US. By attending professional conferences, visiting college campuses and making personal contacts with admissions networks, Elizabeth stays current on the evolving nature of admissions and passes that know-how on to her clients. Both college and graduate school advising is available and the number of clients taken is limited to ensure each applicant has personalized attention. Call Elizabeth early in the process for a courtesy phone consultation: 925.385.0562; Write elizabeth@doingcollege.com; Visit Elizabeth to learn more about her and her services.
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