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Considering a Durable Power Of Attorney & Health Care Surrogate when your Child Leaves Home


When most people think of estate planning tools like durable power of attorney and healthcare surrogate, they think of older couples making plans for their beneficiaries for when they pass.

However, some parents actually set up a health care surrogate and power of attorney for their child when they head off for college in order to help ensure that certain safeguards are in place when it comes to their educational, financial, and health records; especially since going off to college tends to correlate with most children turning 18.

Below, we discuss how college parents can use these types of tools to maintain key legal rights if you have concerns about your child’s initial years away from home:

Healthcare & Medical Issues

Unforeseen events will always happen, regardless of how healthy your child is. You might be amazed at just how common it is for certain “bugs” to move around quickly in college dormitories, including serious cases of the flu. Setting up a healthcare surrogate is similar to making sure you have insurance and a will in place: it’s all about taking precautions now so that, if an emergency strikes, you are prepared. A health care surrogate allows your child to designate you (or another adult) to make medical decisions for them if they are unable to do so. This includes allowing their doctor to be able to disclose important information to you as their parent within the privacy restrictions established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Without setting up a health care surrogate, any doctor or other healthcare provider that your child sees will be unable to disclose key information to you, and there are of course circumstances where your child might be so sick that they also cannot communicate that information, leaving you in the dark as to best provide for their care.

Financial Issues & Durable Power Of Attorney

Your child’s financial “health” is another area many parents do not realize they will need certain access to. Let’s say, for example, that something happens with your child’s checking account or credit card, and they can’t purchase their books, or they spend a semester abroad and need you to be able to handle certain affairs while they are gone, such as signing a lease on an apartment.

This is where durable power of attorney comes in: it allows you to wire money from your child’s account to him or her, or even sign important documents on their behalf.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Serving Orlando, Florida and Surrounding Areas

These key documents can make a huge difference during this transitional time in both your and your child’s life. Make sure that you make time to chat with an experienced attorney to discuss your particular needs as they prepare to leave home so that you are prepared for anything. Contact our Florida attorneys at the office of Gierach and Gierach, P.A. anytime with any questions you might have about ensuring your child is ready for anything that might come in their first years away from home.



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