Power of Attorney and Your College-Age Child

“Back to school” seems to come earlier every year, and by the time you read this, your schoolage children or grandchildren will probably have already started a new school year.

Your College Student and Health Care Needs

College students who are over age 18 have a new sense of freedom in college. Legally and technically adults, they have achieved a level of protection of personal privacy. Parents can no longer directly access college grades or financial standing without their child’s permission.

Taken a step further, parents may not be able to access the health care and medical records of a child age 18 or over. Legally, they are no longer a child!

So where are we going with this?  When your child turns 18, we recommend setting up a health care power of attorney. This legal document authorizes an agent (you, the parent) to receive health care information and, most importantly, make health care decisions if a person is unconscious or unable to make their own medical decisions.

We recommend that you consult your estate planning attorney, who can quickly and easily prepare a health care power of attorney document in addition to a living will (for health care) and a financial power of attorney that covers, guess what, financial affairs.

All of these documents may be unique to your state of residence or state of college attendance and may be available from the university health care center or local hospital. You can also check out the website for Pro Seniors. It’s a Cincinnati-based organization for senior citizens, but the site’s health care and financial documents apply to adults of any age.

Open Enrollment Season Is Coming

As we move into fall, many employers have “open enrollment” time in October or November, during which employees must elect health insurance, disability and life insurance, and other benefit plan coverage for the new calendar year of 2020.

While most attention is paid to health insurance plans, you should pay particular attention to disability insurance coverage since disability is a greater risk than premature death. You may be eligible for optional disability coverage, which we would recommend that you seriously consider. We are always happy to help clients review both disability and life insurance plans.

For your employer life insurance coverage, be sure you have a primary and contingent or secondary beneficiary listed for all of your life insurance plans. This is becoming challenging to do, as more and more employers shift to web-based enrollment services. Lastly, if you are eligible for a health savings account (HSA) as part of a high-deductible health insurance plan, we recommend that you make the maximum contribution and try not to spend it but save it for retirement health expenses.

As always, please contact us with any questions, news, or comments.

Enjoy these final summer days!