Getting your kids ready for college is one of the most traumatic and emotional times in a parent’s life. It is often times the first step towards separation and having a child “leave the nest.” And it seems like it was only yesterday you were changing their diapers and now you are hugging them goodbye for the next 4 years!
This should be an emotional time…you have raised an awesome child and now they are spreading their wings and starting to pursue their own direction in life. What could be more satisfying for a parent to see happen to their child? But when this time comes, will you be ready in other ways to send them off to college? Perhaps not…unless you have done some prior planning before all the tears flow and emotions peak.
I read a great article the other day that talked about some of the issues parents face when sending their kids off to college and what they should have prepared and have in place before they leave home. I thought this was an excellent list of some items and so I wanted to share these items with you so you too could be more prepared when this happens.
- DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE… Every year, roughly a quarter of a million young adults between the ages of 18-25 wind up in the hospital. From alcohol poisoning and nonlethal accidents to unexpected illnesses, it’s important to always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Once a child reaches the age of 18, a parent’s decision making role is significantly diminished, especially in regards to making healthcare decisions. For example, should your child get in a car accident, or fall ill and not be capable of making their own medical decisions, without a durable power of attorney naming you as health care agents, you cannot make medical decisions on their behalf. If you want to continue to make healthcare decisions for your child, create a health care power of attorney.
- HIPPA AUTHORIZATION… In order to make informed medical decisions, it’s important to include a HIPAA authorization form along with a health care power of attorney. Without it, you, as the parent, would be unable to communicate with healthcare professionals and insurance companies. In addition, you would not have access to your child’s health records and previous treatment information…which can be very important in time of an accident or illness. This is easy to do and should be taken care of on their 18th birthday…what a great present!
- DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR PROPERTY AND ASSETS… Similar to a health care power of attorney, a financial power of attorney gives you the ability to make financial decisions on your child’s behalf, should they be unable to do so themselves. Should the child become disabled for any reason, then you, as their parent, would still be able to pay your child’s rent, credit card bills, utilities, access bank accounts and financial records, as well as manage any loans they may have.
- FERPA RELEASE… The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is designed to protect a college student’s privacy, but it can also leave you as a parent locked out in an emergency. A properly worded release can allow parents to talk to school officials and release pertinent educational records and information should you need it.
- LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT… While you may not want to think about this topic, especially as your child leaves home, it’s an important one to add to the list. A Will allows you to honor your child’s wishes on what should be done with their social media accounts, bank accounts, and personal assets. It also allows your child to specify any funeral arrangements they would like to have.
There you have it…a checklist of items to take care of before your child leaves home for college (or any other venture they may be pursuing). If you have any further questions about any one of these items, please feel free to ASK ME A QUESTION and I’ll give you some insight and direction in that area. And if you ever want to just sit down and chat about any of these issues, just CONTACT ME and we can arrange a time to meet (complimentary of course).