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Congratulations!!! Your child is getting ready to college. It is an exciting time in your and your child’s life as they get ready to venture on their own. It is really important to prepare for eventualities.

Health Insurance Coverage – Is that enough?

With Affordable Car Act young adults can be on the parent’s health insurance plan till they are 26 years old. You may have health insurance coverage for your child through your plan but that is not enough. As they venture on their own, they need some additional estate planning documents to protect them.

You might wonder, ” Why would a child need an estate plan? Estate planning is only for older people with substantial assets.” But remember your child is an adult when he/she becomes 18 in Massachusetts and in case of disability due to illness or accident, they need someone else to make decisions for them in case of emergency.  Once a child becomes 18 and is considered legally an adult you may not be able to access your child’s financial, educational and medical information in an emergency.

If your child has not set up all the required documents giving you authority, you may be forced into a completely preventable court conservatorship and experience delays in making those critical decisions. This does not even take into consideration paperwork, attorney fees and court costs.

This may waste valuable time at a critical point in healthcare decision process. There is a simple way to avoid these headaches. Get some of these important documents ready before your child goes off to college.

Important documents that are required are:

  1. HIPPA release document
  2. Healthcare Proxy
  3. Durable General Power of Attorney

HIPPA release document

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This and a corresponding Massachusetts law limits access to an adult’s private health information, even by a parent or other close relative. A HIPAA Authorization document provides a waiver for this confidentiality and allows a parent (or other appointed person) access to the young adult’s hospital admission information and medical records. It also gives permission to speak with medical professionals regarding the person’s condition and medical treatment recommendations. Believe it or not without this document you may not even be notified when you child is hospitalized in even of an emergency.

Health Care Proxy – Advanced health care directive – Your healthcare proxy  is a legal document that permits the parent (or other appointed person) to make medical decisions if your child is not in a position to make their own decisions – – everything from immediate lifesaving treatment, to operations, transfusions, rehab treatment, all the way to the decision about long-term life sustaining treatment like tube-feeding and hydration. Children and/or grandchildren (and often their parents) rarely think they’ll ever become so disabled by illness or accident, but they could. In a moment of crisis this access to health professionals is vital for all those trying to help.

The above documents address child’s medical related matters, but there might be financial or educational matters which may need to be taken care of if the child becomes disabled due to illness or accident?

Durable Power of Attorney

This is why, a Durable Power of Attorney is essential. It empowers the child’s parent (or other appointed person) to handle immediately, without going to Court, important matters such as; accessing bank accounts and credit cards; paying bills; accessing online accounts (including online banking); entering contracts with third parties (including with an attorney, if legal representation is necessary); and obtaining educational records. This is especially important in case of an accident and when you need legal representation and your child can not make those decisions.

With 25 + years of experience in estate planning and Elder law, we have seen a lot. Because of this, we provide valuable guidance and direction for you and your family not only getting the appropriate documents ready for you and your family, but also serving as a guide for you all for the next month, semester and chapter in your lives. In order to help you and your family, friends and neighbors,we even provide free reports, books and videos at If it is helpful you can even attend  free workshops provided every month with your choice of day, evening and Saturday morning times and locations. Call now 800-964-4295. If you can not join us live, but would like our help, we have a few complimentary DVDs of prior events which may help you learn what you need to know. Call for your complimentary copy today while we still have a few left.

Your family matters! We help you achieve and maintain the peace of mind you deserve now and in the years ahead.

At Estate Planning and Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan and Associates we understand how important this is for your family and even provide a  complementary benefit for all members of Lifetime Protection Plan. If your child(or grandchild) is 18 years old,living at home, we will work with you and your child to get these documents ready so that your child and you are protected. Even if you are not a member of Lifetime Protection Plan, we will still help you get ready when your child is ready to go to college for a nominal fee because we believe it is vital to protect you and your family.

Contact us today at 800.964.4295 for more information or to register for the estate planning workshops. Visit our website at