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

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

By Sabrina Winters

Will your graduating senior be protected without 3 important legal documents?

As a local attorney, I can't stress enough how timely (and critical!) this information is for your audience.  Many young adults in our area will soon be heading off to college or traveling abroad without the 3 key documents (Advance Health Care Directive, HIPAA Form and Financial Power of Attorney) they need for mom or dad to oversee their care if they become ill or seriously injured and unable to speak for themselves.

As a legal adult, privacy laws can prevent parents from making medical 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 seriously injured in an accident.

Charlotte:  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 seriously ill or incapacitated in an accident.

Under current privacy laws, parents may be barred from making necessary medical and life-saving decisions on their child's behalf without such documentation in place.  Parents may further find themselves unable to obtain necessary medical records without an Advance Health Care Directive and signed HIPAA form in place.

"Most parents assume they can make medical decisions on their child's behalf until they are legally married, but that is just not the case, " says Charlotte estate planning lawyer, Sabrina Winters.  "The law can prevent parents from getting involved in the care of a child 18 or older without explicit permission through legal documentation," she warns.

For that reason, Winters urges parents of graduating seniors to help their child complete the following 3 documents which give them permission to intervene medically and make life-saving decisions on their child's behalf:

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 wind up in a coma or become otherwise incapacitated in a serious accident.  It also specifies the type of long-term care or life support the child would want should they become incapacitated or left in a permanent vegetative state.

2.   Financial Power of Attorney- Having 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 greater assistance from parents in the event of an emergency, Winters 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 all known allergies.

"It's such 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 if they are incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves," warns Winters.   Fortunately, this situation is entirely avoidable and I advise parents to protect their child with these critical documents before summer begins," says Winters.

For more information on the 3 legal documents every graduating senior needs to ensure their parents can intervene medically on their behalf or for more information on Charlotte estate planning lawyer, Sabrina Winters, please call 704-843-1446 or visit www.ncestateplanninginfo.com.

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