parents no longer have legal authority over their child’s financial or medical decisions one the child turns 18. This is true even though high school and college age children are still dependent on their parents.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (known as “HIPAA”) imposes strict privacy rules on hospitals, doctors and other health care providers. This Federal law imposes high standards of patient privacy on medical doctors and facilities. Because of this, many health care providers will not provide ANY medical information or records to anyone without the authority of the patient.
What can you do so that you do not run into the further panic causing situation of these Virginia Tech parents ?
A solution is for parents to ask their college age children to sign a power of attorney and health care directive. These routinely prepared estate planning documents authorize the parents to obtain medical information and records and make medical and financial decisions for a child if the child is unable to make such decisions for himself or herself. By keeping copies (or, better yet, electronic copies) of these documents readily available, parents will be better prepared to respond in cases of emergency.
If you have any questions, call us at ABRAMS LANDAU (703-796-9555)