Question: My daughter is going to live at college in the fall. In case of a problem, do I need anything legally to support her medically or financially?

Answer: I remember my freshman year at college.  Though I was technically an 18 year old adult, I relied heavily upon my parents for support in many ways – financially, medically, emotionally, etc.  Nowadays, college administrators can get carried away in providing students with autonomy from parents.  With proper legal authorization, you can equip yourself in the case of an emergency.

Health Care Proxy – many reasonable medical personnel will work with parents for disclosure of information and collaboration of decision making.  Many unreasonable individuals will not.

By signing a health care proxy document, your child can authorize you to step into their shoes, in the event of a medical emergency.  If your child cannot speak for herself, you will be able to make her health care decisions.  Further, as a designated health care agent, you will be able to gain access to medical information without delay or hesitation.  This is particularly important in dealing with college administration in the wake of a medical emergency, when information is scarce.

Power of Attorney – many parents will establish joint accounts for children at college. This allows you to access information and, more importantly, to deposit funds.  This setup may serve most parents; however, your financial authority ends with this account.

Sometimes, find themselves in other forms of financial obligation, such as rental agreements off campus, scholarships, loans, credit cards or meal plans.  In order to be legally prepared to help your student with any problems, you are best equipped with a power of attorney status.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law, estate planning and probate at 790 Boston Road, Billerica. He gladly invites questions at james@hlawoffice.com or by phone at 978-671-0711. His website blog is found at both www.prioritylaw.com and www.hlawoffice.com

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