How NOT to Lose All Parental Rights to Your College Kid

We’re just checking in here, because some things are worth repeating. Did you read the last article? It’s an important one, even though you may have brushed it aside the first time. We totally get it. You have a healthy new adult child off to college for the most amazing, memorable four years he or she may ever experience.

What’s the worst that could happen, right? Well, to be honest, a lot — especially if you choose to do nothing about it. You know your kid won’t do anything stupid. But what if?

Here’s the thing: The minute your kid reaches the magic age of 18, he or she is instantly deemed an adult in the eyes of the law and is entitled to all the same legal protections you and I take for granted. Now, you may say that’s a good thing, and you’d be correct. But what you may not realize is that the moment Junior is empowered make important life decisions, you are instantly cut off from accessing the medical and financial records that you’ve been in charge of since the day your baby came into your life.

It’s a major adjustment that you’ll need to deal with — but there’s a smart way to deal with it that still gives you the ability to make critical decisions for your college student in the event that he or she is unable to make them.

No matter how ill-equipped little Suzie might be for whatever curveballs life may throw at her, she’s in charge of her own decisions now — unless she says you can help.

This is not an invasion of privacy and she shouldn’t look at it as a way for Mom and Dad to keep her from experiencing full, independent adulthood. This is a support system that she can authorize to help her if she gets into trouble, whether it’s legal, financial, or medical.

Here’s the best advice we can give. Go back and read (or re-read) the previous article on Three “Must Haves” Before Kids Go to College. The logical you knows it’s the right thing to do, but emotional you is trying not to act as if you’re reluctant to give up your decision-making power. If you feel stuck or indecisive or even guilty for asking your own child to give you the right to help them when an urgent matter arises, just call us. Let’s set up an appointment to take care of your most precious asset before classes begin and life gets in the way and you’re powerless to help in a crisis.

Keep in mind that if you’re a member of our Most Trusted Advisor program, a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy for your newly minted adult children are always free. For every other concerned parent, we’ll waive the on-boarding fee for the month of August.

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