No doubt many parents are wishing that colleges these days would decrease tuition as online curriculums for fall classes commence. Yet in this time of COVID-19, here are some important things to reckon with as you prepare to send your 18-to-19 year- old to college.
Your car insurance policy might have your daughter or son listed as a dependent. Even so, currently in the eyes of the law your 18 to 19-year-old college bound student is considered an adult.
What that means is that you as parent must be extra prepared to manage through a potentially difficult bureaucratic labyrinth of legalities if something were to happen to your college kid.
Example, if your daughter or son were injured in a car accident (perhaps in that very car you gave them or helped purchase for their 18th birthday), please stop and think for a moment! If she or he were taken to the hospital, under today’s laws and procedures, the hospital is not obligated to contact you. Nor, is the hospital obligated to give you any information, unless you have documentation.
This would be in the form of an “advanced healthcare directive.” Or, in other more familiar terminology, “power of attorney” for medical decisions, this is imperative.
Apart from a worst-case scenario, like a car accident, let’s say your son or daughter were to live off campus. And, in living off campus, away from home for the first time, she or he gets into financial difficulties? Not simply being short on rent, but some how being held responsible for things beyond his or her current scope of understanding, like a lack of responsibility from roommates. Just like hospitals, banks are not obligated to help you if a bank account or credit card is exclusively in your daughter or son’s name.
Rental contracts can have stipulations that your son or daughter might not fully comprehend, especially if roommates, sub-leasers or even party-crashers are involved. Even if roommates are or are not co-signers on the lease, if there is a misunderstanding in the rental agreement signed and financial litigations crop up of which your daughter or son is held responsible, who could help?
A “general durable power of attorney” document would allow you to step in and help.
While you hope your kid stays healthy and avoids COVID-19 infection, there is still the possibility that she or he might get sick. This is why you must be prepared. If in a hospital stay situation or perhaps a lease to an apartment off campus, or other payments are due, documentation helps in situations of difficulty and emergency.
Take the time to put in order all necessary documents, such as an “advanced healthcare directive” and “General Durable Power of Attorney.” Make sure the documents are signed by your college-age kid and correspond with California and out-of-state laws, which are in accordance with whatever area – state or province your kid is attending college in. Keep them up to date and close at hand.
That way, if things were to happen, you and the future scholar, doctor, CEO, etc. that you raised to venture into the world are protected.