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College Student Legal Needs

College Student Legal Needs – Health Forms for your Adult Child

Your children are now 18 and off to college.  They are technically adults.  You’ve shipped them off to a University, out of state, excited for them to begin their next chapter.  If something bad were to happen, like a deck collapse at a frat party, or a DUI accident, and your child is hurt, how do you deal with health care providers?  Or what if your child has a chronic health care issue, like asthma, diabetes or depression?  You are a parent, but your child is now an adult, so the doctor or the hospital may not easily let you have detailed information as to your child’s current medical condition, and make the necessary health care decisions.

Several colleges offer health programs, and may even provide certain permission forms, including HIPAA forms, but unless your child (now an adult) shares everything with you, you may not know about certain necessary forms or processes.  To calm some fears, Doctors have considerable leeway to give parents critical information, but even this might have some limitation.  When taking a position of precaution and best practices in life preparation, here are a few things to consider:

  1. You should start with a HIPAA release. A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant release identifies you as a related or authorized person and allows you access to medical information and medical records.  This can also be tailored to have certain privacy, such as excluding mental health or sexual health items.  This is critical if your child cannot advocate for them self and gives you access to information if you need a second opinion.
  1. Next you should consider a Medical Power of Attorney or Advanced Health Care Directive. This allows the designated person the authority to make ultimate health care decisions if your child is incapacitated or in an altered mental state.
  1. Finally, as you may need to address finances or insurance coverage issues, it would be beneficial to also have a Durable or Financial Power of Attorney, so that you are empowered to address these issues as well.

We should also add some caveats.  Your child is the one making decisions about sharing authority, so they will have to engage legal services of the attorney preparing such forms.  Next, if an out-of-state student, consider locating an attorney in the state that the student is residing, as there may be some legal nuance, state-by-state.  Finally, make sure original documents are secure, but that everyone involved has copies.


Fred Begun



Fred Begun is Senior Counsel in the San Jose office of Borton Petrini and practices in family law and estate planning.



Legal Disclaimer: Nothing in this Blog is intended as specific legal advice. Borton Petrini, LLP has a number of skilled family law attorneys ready and able to assist you. If you need assistance with your family law case, it is our sincere hope that you will reach out to the lawyers at the Borton Petrini office nearest you so that we can assist you.

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