For a parent, the instinct to protect never ends. When your child turns 18, however, your legal right to access their protected records — medical, financial, and academic — does come to an abrupt halt, regardless of whether they are still in high school or covered by your health insurance plan. Parents who wish to continue providing support in case of emergency must take action, especially if they are sending a child off to college. 4 legal forms you need for your 18–year–old:
1. Power of Attorney: This document gives a parent or guardian the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the 18–year–old, such as signing legal documents, making medical decisions, or accessing financial records. It is important to note that this is not a transfer of guardianship and does not grant the parent control over the 18–year–old’s life.
2. Health Care Proxy: This document allows a parent or guardian to access their 18–year–old’s medical records and make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated or unable to communicate.
3. HIPAA Authorization Form: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers from sharing an 18–year–old’s medical information without their permission. A HIPAA authorization form grants a parent or guardian access to their 18–year–old’s medical files.
4. FERPA Authorization Form: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of a student’s educational records. This document grants a parent or guardian the right to access a student’s academic records, including transcripts, class schedules, and financial aid information.
These documents are essential for parents who want to stay involved in their 18–year–old’s life and provide support in case of emergency. It is important to note that each document has its own rules and regulations, so be sure to speak to an attorney to ensure that the forms are completed correctly.