If your child has turned, or will turn, 18 before college begins, she is legally an adult, and you, her parent, lose the legal authority to make decisions on her behalf. That means that you have no legal right to see her grades, manage her finances (although you remain responsible for paying her college tuition), make medical decisions or speak with her doctor. So, before she goes off to college, consider asking her to sign some documents that will allow you to continue to help your child.
FERPA Release: with your child’s permission, you can speak with the college about her performance. Colleges often have their own FERPA releases, so ask your college for a copy.
HIPAA Authorization: allows you to access your child’s health records and speak to her doctors.
Advance Care Directive for Health Care: allows you to act on your adult child’s behalf in the event that she is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for herself.
Durable Power of Attorney: allows you to act on your adult child’s behalf regarding legal or financial matters.
You can get the last three forms mentioned from your family lawyer. Having these in place while your child is away at college may provide the whole family with extra peace of mind.
This would also be a good time to address any money management issues.
Set up a bank account that will allow you to easily transfer money to her account. Find out which banks have ATMs close to campus—college kids usually don’t write many checks. Be sure to check on fees for using an ATM that’s not part of your bank’s network. Those fees can add up!
Make plans to protect student property. College kids tend to have a lot of valuable electronics and computer equipment. Renter’s insurance can protect your investment if these items were to disappear. Your homeowner’s policy might also cover dorm room possessions—check with your agent.
Prepared especially for our clients and their families. The information included in this newsletter is general and does not constitute educational, financial, accounting, legal, or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on the material contained herein. Copyright © 2017 by The College Advisor, Inc. All rights reserved.
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