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From Blankets to Bank Statements: The Important Documents to Consider Before Your Students Heads Off

Congratulations, parents! Your child is embarking on an exciting journey into adulthood as they head off to college. Alongside the anticipation and joy, it's important to consider the necessary paperwork to ensure a smooth transition.

Once your student leaves the nest, the world becomes their own to navigate. As much as you would like to help, there are areas where you are no longer allowed to have access to their information. These include - college, medical, and financial records.

While we always recommend consulting a financial advisor or legal professional for personalized guidance, here are some essential forms you may want to consider for your child as they embark on their college adventure.

Limited Power of Attorney

A power of attorney grants you legal authority to make decisions on behalf of your child in case they cannot do so. This document may be useful for medical emergencies, financial matters, or legal issues.

Importance: It allows you to act in your child's best interests and provide guidance when they cannot make decisions themselves.

Medical Information Release

This form authorizes healthcare providers to release your child's medical records to you or other designated individuals. It ensures you can access crucial information about their health, treatment, and medications.

Importance: In case of emergencies or when your child is away from home, readily available medical information can facilitate better care and decision-making.

HIPAA Authorization

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization permits healthcare providers to disclose your child's protected health information to you.

Importance: It ensures that you can stay informed about your child's health conditions, treatments, and progress, which is especially valuable when they are at college.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney grants you the authority to manage your child's financial affairs, such as handling bank accounts, paying bills, and managing investments.

Importance: It enables you to address financial matters on their behalf, ensuring bills are paid, contracts are signed, and financial decisions are made in their best interest.

FERPA Release Form

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) release form allows educational institutions to share your child's educational records with you.

Importance: It ensures you can access their academic information, such as grades, class schedules, and financial aid details, helping you stay involved and provide support when needed.

Emergency Contact List

Create a comprehensive list of emergency contacts, including family members, close friends, and healthcare providers.

Importance: In case of emergencies, having quick access to these contacts can expedite communication and ensure necessary support is provided promptly.

While these forms can be instrumental in ensuring your child's well-being and facilitating effective communication, consulting with a financial advisor or legal professional for personalized guidance is crucial. Some of these forms may be state-specific, so it is important to discuss enforceability with a professional, especially if your student is headed out of state for college. They can help tailor these forms to your specific situation and provide expert advice on any additional documentation that may be necessary.

Remember, the first step is to sit down and discuss these forms with your children. Students are rightly looking forward to exploring and navigating the world on their own, and some can be hesitant about the idea of signing these forms. If you want to pursue putting some of these forms in place, it is important to explain why it’s always better to address these matters proactively, giving you peace of mind and allowing your child to focus on their academic and personal growth during this exciting time.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for guidance tailored to your specific needs.

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