In this season of graduations, it’s hard not to think of children growing up. Even though high school graduates and college students will always be someone’s child, they are now adults in the eyes of the law. That means it is time to develop a plan.
Every young adult’s plan should include the following:
- Medical Power of Attorney: determines who will make healthcare decisions for a person if he is unable to do so himself. Texas is one of five states that does not accept a simple form. Instead, Medical Powers of Attorney in this state must comply with a number of statutory requirements. Authority only becomes effective when a physician determines that the individual cannot speak for himself.
- Durable General Power of Attorney: determines who will make financial decisions for a person if he is unable to do so himself. A springing Power of Attorney will only become effective if the student is determined to be incapacitated. A Power of Attorney that is effective immediately will allow another individual access to financial records even without a finding of incapacity. This can be particularly helpful if a student is studying abroad.
Critically, Powers of Attorney and Directives to Physicians are governed by state law and vary from state to state. That said, some states will recognize properly-drafted documents from other jurisdictions. If your child is attending an out-of-state college, consider whether to execute documents for both Texas and the state in which the school is located.
Finally, most schools offer a FERPA Release Form, which allows parents (or other designated individuals) access to a student’s academic records. Academic records, under this statute, are defined to include such documents as academic transcripts, financial aid records, and disciplinary records.