GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - You have the car packed with dorm essentials, a new laptop and textbooks that cost a little bit too much. But does your college student have the proper legal documents he or she might need before heading out on their own?

Dan Ament, Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley, joined KARE 11 Sunrise to highlight some legal documents you may want to consider with kids heading off to college.

Legal docs to consider for your adult “kids”

  • Health care documents – Once your child reaches 18, you can no longer access his medical records or make medical decisions on their behalf without special legal documents.
    • HIPAA authorization form – Based on a federal law that protects the privacy of medical records, a signed authorization form by your child will permit you to receive information from health care providers about their health and treatment.
    • Health care power of attorney (POA) – A health care POA can name parents as “medical agents”, providing the ability to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. The specific requirements of the document may vary by state.
  • Durable power of attorney (POA) – You may also want to consider a durable power of attorney, especially if your child’s college is away from home. This would give you the authority to sign documents on your child’s behalf and handle any financial or legal matters while they are gone - such as managing financial accounts held in their name or filing a tax return on their behalf. You may elect to include an end date on the POA to limit the duration of this financial authority-providing document.

As always, if you are unsure regarding executing these legal documents for your child, seek the advice of a qualified attorney to assist.