Three Documents Your Young Adult Should Have Before Leaving for College

Written by Collett P. Small, Esq. on . Posted in Blog

Now that your child has turned eighteen, they are legally considered to be adults. Chances are both the parents and the young adult alike are experiencing many life changes. College decisions, graduation and prom just to name a few. The protective parent child relationship that we are accustomed to since their birth is also changing, at least legally. At a time when our young adults may be moving away from home and seem to need us even more, we are no longer entitled to see their medical, academic or financial records. In cases of emergencies we may even be prevented from making medical decisions for them. As parents of young adults we need to be prepared for issues that may arise where they are away from home and may need our help.


Fortunately with proper planning, there are legal documents in place that will permit parents to act on our young adult's behalf if they were incapacitated or otherwise need our help. Be prepared in the event of an emergency by having your young adult sign the necessary documents before heading off to school. Depending on your young adult, the solution maybe a Medical Power of Attorney a Durable Power of Attorney and a FERPA release appointing their parents as their agent. Discuss these issues with your young adult and the idea of having these documents in place.

A Power of Attorney for Health Care. This document will allow the parent to make healthcare decisions for their young adult and speak with their doctors, healthcare providers and insurance companies as well as access medical records.

A Durable Power of Attorney. This document would allow you to act on your young adult's behalf for financial or other transactions. In this form your young adult would name you as their agent.

A FERPA Release. A FERPA release would allow parents to get access to educational records. Believe it or not, just because you may be paying the bill, you do not have the right to get copies of your young adult's transcripts or speak with administrators at their colleges.

Our job as a parent does not end when they turn eighteen and go off to college, just by discussing the legal changes with you young adult, proper planning and having the proper documentation in place we increase our ability to be there for our young adult, our child, no matter what.

A Medical Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney are very personal and individualized legal documents and should be discussed with an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area. The preparation of these documents involves making decisions that require professional judgment which can be obtained only by years of training and experience. An experienced attorney can avoid pitfalls and advise the course best suited for each client. Elder Law Attorneys are experienced in Medical Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney documents so they are a good choice to provide assistance in this area. If you have any questions regarding making your will do not hesitate to consult with an experienced Elder Law attorney in your area.