This month, millions of students across the country will be starting a new college year, some will return to campus and many will engage in remote learning.

These students: young, idealistic, and often wholly dependent upon their parents for financial support, are nonetheless adults in the eyes of the law once they turn 18. This new legal independence grants them a host of new rights and responsibilities while terminating certain rights their parents previously held. One such right is to determine who has access to medical information and who can make medical decisions. This is particularly important in the event of an emergency.

Most estate plans include the appointment of a Health Care Agent, and not surprisingly most young people do not think about these things. A Health Care Agent is appointed to make medical decisions in the event of an emergency if the individual cannot speak for him or herself. The truth is that young students usually do not need a comprehensive estate plan, but everybody (young and old) needs a Health Care Agent named and a backup.

Furthermore, federal law (HIPAA) restricts with whom medical providers can share a patient’s medical information without the patient’s consent. As a result, your college-aged child’s doctor or attending physician may not be able to share pertinent information with you in the event of an emergency. Fortunately, there is an easy solution. A HIPAA Release can list the people that the health care provider is authorized to share information with, such as parents and other relatives.

For a modest flat fee, Nordheimer Law, LLC can prepare each of these documents for your college-aged children. If you are already an existing estate planning client, we offer this service for free to your children when they turn 18. We also include cloud-based storage of the documents that provides ready access to these documents and parents’ emergency contact information. This system makes it easy for you and them to retrieve copies of the HIPAA Release, Health Care Agent Appointment, as well as contact parents in case of an emergency. We are ready to assist your family if you would like to complete this work before your young adult heads off or back to college.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact [email protected]  or call our offices at (302) 655-4500.

We wish you all a safe and happy rest of your summer.