In the Wake of a Pandemic, What Do I Need to Consider as My Child Leaves for College?

August 4, 2020
In the Wake of a Pandemic, What Do I Need to Consider as My Child Leaves for College

With the coronavirus still being prevalent throughout the United States, I’m nervous about sending my child to college far away from home.

Q: How can I make sure he or she is protected should he or she get sick?

A: It’s a scary thought for any parent, but especially more so in the middle of a pandemic. Your college-aged child is more than 2,000 miles away from home and could get sick and be admitted to the hospital. As a parent, you will want to talk to the doctor and receive information on the route of care and updates on your child’s health. Unfortunately, and to make matters worse, your child is 18 and legally considered an adult; therefore, the doctor can’t provide you any information or updates. Instead, you will need to rely on your sick child for updates…which is fine if they are able to communicate. What happens, though, if they are unconscious or unable to speak and you are left without any information?

Before your child leaves to go back to college, consider putting a healthcare power of attorney and a durable power of attorney in place. The healthcare power of attorney is a document allowing a parent to act as an agent for the child in medically related matters; granting them access to the child’s medical records and to make healthcare decisions on their child’s behalf. This document may also dictate the child’s wishes if an end-of-life decision needs to be made. A durable power of attorney allows a parent to act as an agent for a child in other matters (primarily financial) in the event their child becomes incapacitated or is unable to handle medical issues.

We recommend that your child take the original documents with them to college and you keep a copy safe at home as well. Healthcare proxies and durable powers of attorney are legally binding documents. It’s important to have an attorney with experience drafting these types of documents handle the paperwork for the parent and child. Your wealth advisor can help you find an attorney if needed.

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