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3 Legal Documents Every Graduating Senior Needs to Ensure Parents Can Make Important Medical and Financial Decisions on Their Child’s Behalf

As a legal adult, privacy laws can prevent parents from making medical and financial decisions on their child’s behalf.  For that reason, parents of graduating seniors are urged to help their child prepare HIPAA forms, a Power of Attorney, and an Advance Health Care Directive to ensure they are consulted should their child become incapacitated or unable to speak for themselves.

St. Louis –  As graduating seniors prepare to travel abroad or leave for college, parents are urged to help their children prepare HIPAA forms, a Power of Attorney, and an Advance Health Care Directive to ensure they are consulted and actively involved in their child’s care should they become incapacitated in an accident or unable to speak for themselves.

Under current privacy laws, parents may be barred from making financial and life-saving decisions on their child’s behalf without such documentation in place.  Parents may further find themselves unable to obtain medical records without a signed HIPAA form.

“Most parents assume they can make medical and financial decisions until their child is legally married, but that is just not the case,” says St. Louis area estate planning lawyer, Rosalind Robertson.  “The law can prevent parents from getting involved in the care of a teen 18 or older without explicit permission through legal documentation,” she warns.

For that reason, Robertson urges parents of graduating seniors to help their child complete the following three documents:

  1. Advance Health Care Directive- This document allows a young adult to appoint someone they trust (the parent) to be their health care agent should they become incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. It also specifies the type of long-term care or life support the young adult would want following a serious medical crisis.
  2. Financial Power of Attorney- A financial power of attorney is necessary to give someone (preferably the parents) permission to access any bank accounts and act financially on the adult child’s behalf if an emergency occurs. Such activities covered under the Power of Attorney include paying bills, buying or selling assets, applying for social security or other government benefits, and the opening and closing of accounts.
  3. Signed HIPAA Form- Parents should have their adult child pre-sign a HIPPA form to ensure they can immediately communicate with physicians and access important medical records.

Finally, to facilitate faster assistance from parents in the event of an emergency, Robertson also recommends keeping an ICE Card (In Case of Emergency) in the child’s wallet listing the names of all approved emergency contacts, health insurance information, and known allergies.

“It’s a natural instinct to want to jump in and help our children in an emergency.  Yet without these documents in place, parents could be helpless spectators of their child’s care,” warns Robertson.   “Fortunately, this situation is entirely avoidable, and I advise parents to protect their children with these three critical documents before summer begins,” says Robertson.

For more information on the three legal documents every graduating senior needs to ensure their parents can intervene on their behalf, please call (636) 812-2575 or visit JonesElderLaw.com.