Do you have a child heading off to college for the first time in the Fall? If so, I’m sure you have been busy planning with your child to make sure they have everything they need to be ready for the big move: school supplies, clothing, food, and those personal touches that will make their dorm room feel at least a little like home. But have you thought about making sure your now adult child has signed an Advance Directive?
Imagine this: In mid-August, you get your son settled in his dorm room at an out-of-state college. A few weeks into the semester, you get a call from your son’s roommate informing you that your son has been in a bad car accident. When you call the hospital to ask for details about your son’s condition, you are informed that they cannot provide you with any information unless you prove that your now adult son authorized the doctors to speak with you. How can this be? You’re his parent, and up until this point, the doctors always talked to you about everything regarding your son’s medical care.
Heading off to college is a rite of passage for our children and a sign of independence as they move away from home for the first time in their lives. But regardless of how mature your children are, when they turn 18 years old, they are legal adults who get to make their own decisions. This means that you, as their parent, no longer have access to their medical records without their permission.
How do you make sure your now adult child’s doctors will still talk to you in the event of a medical emergency? There’s actually a very simple solution. Your now adult child needs to execute a legal document called an Advance Directive to designate you as his or her agent. As the designated agent in your child’s Advance Directive, you will be authorized to receive medical information about your child, and you will be in the position to make medical decisions on their behalf if they can’t make those decisions for themselves.
No parent ever wants to be in a position where they cannot help their own child, especially in a medical emergency. In the absence of an Advance Directive, you may be stuck petitioning the court to be appointed as the legal guardian of your own child and required to get the court’s permission to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf. Don’t let this happen to your family. All of this can be very easily avoided if your adult child executes an Advance Directive before he or she heads off to college. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn more.