I’ve posted about this topic before here and here in general, but with COVID cases rising at college campuses across the country, parents may find themselves scrambling to communicate with doctors from a distance. If your child is age 18 and over, then legally speaking, your child is no longer a child. The age of majority for making your own decisions is age 18 in the United States. So college students, for the first time, are often without parental supervision. So, just like any other adult, they need legally enforceable directions in place about who they authorize to handle their medical and financial decisions for them if they cannot in the event of death or incapacity.
If your college student is in the hospital for COVID-19 or any other reason, parents are often surprised that doctors won’t talk to you unless your child has authorized you to speak for them as their agent with a validly executd power of attorney for their medical and financial responsibilities. Even banks won’t give you access to their accounts, even if you still have the same last name or address as your kid, unless you have a power of attorney authorizing you to do so. Also, even if your child has named you as their emergency contact with the school, things get murky if they have to be taken off campus for emergency or medical treatment.
So, at a minimum, your child, if he or she is over 18, needs the following documents in place:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Living Will & Patient Advocate Designation
- HIPAA Authorization Form
- Last Will & Testament