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By Bradley Hunt, Attorney at Law

Preparing to send your child off to college for the first time (or even subsequent years) can be both exciting and stressful. The to-do list can seem endless, from buying sheets and towels to confirming the drop-off date and rules. There are a few things (from a legal perspective) you will want to consider adding to the list:

  1. Many schools allow students to give their parents access to the online portal so they can monitor grades, etc. But if your child is now 18 and an adult, understand you do not have the legal right to access this information – even if you are paying the bill. Check with your student to see if they are willing to give you access.
  2. Likewise, you can no longer request access to your child’s medical history at the on- or off-campus healthcare facility. Under HIPAA rules, your child would have to grant you that access.  It is recommended that your 18 year old enter into a health care power of attorney, HIPAA authorization and a durable financial/legal power of attorney to authorize a parent(s) to handle such decisions for health, financial, insurance or legal purposes.
  3. If your student will be renting an apartment or house (especially off campus), he or she should understand the terms of the lease agreement. What happens if the roommates have a disagreement? Does the lease permit a sublet? What happens if a party gets out of hand? Lease agreements can vary widely, and failure to abide by the terms could result in loss of their deposit or even a lawsuit.
  4. We often think about medical powers of attorney or other advance directives as we get older, but as soon as your child becomes an adult, it makes sense to have these documents in place. Accidents do happen, so being prepared will ensure your child’s wishes for medical care are known.
  5. Finally, we recommend you remind your student about what is (and is not) acceptable behavior. While being away from home can feel exciting and liberating, there are real consequences for underage drinking, DWI, and drug possession.

With some preparation and common sense, your student can have a great school year!

Looking for help understanding a lease agreement or with advance directives? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.