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As the excitement of sending your child off to college builds, it’s essential to ensure that you have all the necessary legal documents in place to protect both you and your child.

From medical considerations to financial responsibilities, securing the right paperwork can make the transition to college smoother and provide peace of mind. Thanks to Deidre Von Rock, President of Von Rock Law and Licensed Attorney, Real Estate Broker, and Notary Public, we’ve compiled a list of the essential legal documents you want in place for you and your child’s safety and peace of mind.

Essential Legal Documents

  • Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney allows you to handle financial and legal matters on behalf of your child. This document is crucial for situations in which your child may be unable to manage their financial affairs, such as handling banking transactions or signing legal documents.
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive: Unlike a healthcare proxy, which primarily designates a representative to make medical decisions in unforeseen circumstances, an Advanced Health Care Directive delves into the intricacies of an individual’s medical preferences and end-of-life decisions. This comprehensive document allows your college-bound student to articulate specific instructions regarding the type of medical treatments they wish to receive or avoid, ensuring their preferences are known and honored.
  • Will and Testament: While it may seem premature, having a basic will in place is a responsible step for any legal adult. This becomes especially important if your child has significant assets, even if they are not financial in nature.
  • FERPA Release Form: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records. While your child is considered a legal adult in college, a FERPA release form allows them to grant you access to their academic records and communicate with college staff on their behalf.
  • HIPAA Authorization: Before your child turns 18, you likely have the legal authority to make medical decisions on their behalf. However, once they enter college, they are considered legal adults, and their medical information becomes private. A healthcare proxy and HIPAA authorization form will grant you the ability to access their medical records and make healthcare decisions in case of emergencies.

Approaching the Conversation with a Resistant Child

Initiating a conversation about legal documents with a resistant child can be challenging, as it may seem like an intrusion into their newfound independence. It’s crucial to approach the topic with sensitivity and respect for their autonomy.

Begin by expressing your genuine concern for their well-being and explaining that these documents are designed to ensure their safety and support, especially in unforeseen circumstances. Emphasize that these measures aren’t meant to restrict their freedom but rather to provide a safety net that respects their wishes.

Encourage an open dialogue, assuring them that you value their opinions and want to work together to make informed decisions.!

As your child embarks on this exciting journey to college, taking the time to organize these essential legal documents will provide a safety net for both you and your student. It’s a proactive approach that ensures you can assist in times of need while respecting their newfound independence. By addressing these legal considerations, you contribute to a positive and secure college experience for your child and set the foundation for responsible adulthood.

Deidre Von Rock, President of Von Rock Law and Licensed Attorney, Real Estate Broker, and Notary Public

For a seamless transition to college life for your child, ensure you have the necessary legal safeguards in place. For more information about this extremely important topic contact Deidre Von Rock today.

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About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

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