Adding Power to Your College Checklist

College-bound child loads up trunk of vehicle as mom and dad watch on.

Starting college or moving out of a parent’s house is a new beginning in any adult child’s life, and many parents struggle with being shut out of their adult children’s personal and medical decisions when their child turns eighteen. Furthermore, under federal law, and particularly the protections afforded to individuals under HIPAA, without a properly executed Power of Attorney (“POA”) for Health Care, hospitals and medical professionals cannot contact parents or siblings of someone involved in an accident or medical crisis to notify them of the incident. Moreover, without having been appointed as Agent under a POA for Health Care, parents or other family members are not automatically included in decisions related to a patient’s treatment.

In essence, for adult children heading off to college or who have made the decision to venture out on their own, this means that when they (the “Principal”) don’t document their wishes about the kinds of medical treatment they want and don’t specify a trusted individual to follow those instructions, these decisions default to certain family members under Illinois law when the Principal becomes incapacitated. This means that important medical and health care decisions can be placed in the hands of estranged family members who know very little about the Principal.

Out-of-State Students

For adult children who move out of state, executing a POA for Health Care is especially critical, as states’ laws on when family members are notified, and which family members are default decision makers, can vary. Moreover, a POA for Health Care executed in Illinois will be accepted in other states so long as it meets the requirements of formation under Illinois law.

In the worst-case scenario, family members or individuals may disagree about the decisions to make on the Principal’s behalf and may wind up in court arguing in front of a judge about whom should be appointed as Agent. This process is stressful, time consuming, and expensive.

How Do I Get One?

A POA for Health Care is easy to execute, can allow your adult child to retain personal autonomy over important medical decisions until they become incapacitated, and aids in preventing disputes between family members that may lead to contentious litigation. Having your adult child execute a POA for Health Care before taking their next step can offer everyone much needed peace of mind.

Contact Carlson Dash today to have a POA for Health Care for your college-aged, adult child prepared for a flat fee of $150.00 (through December 31, 2023).

This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.