Does Your Child Have a HIPAA Authorization Form? 

As you prepare to send your child off to college, either for their first year as a freshman or to complete their education, the checklist of forms is endless. Dorm rooms, textbooks, placement tests, financial aid, the list goes on and on. 

However, in between making plans for orientation and the final move-in, it is important to make time for four important documents that will allow you to support your young adult – even when they’re miles away. Even though your child will always be your baby, once they turn 18, they are legally an adult, and you no longer get to make decisions on their behalf as natural guardian. That means you will not automatically have access to their information, such as medical or educational records. 

Here are the four documents we recommend every parent have in place before their child goes off to college: 

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney with Living Will; 
  • Financial Power of Attorney; 
  • HIPPA Authorization form; and 
  • FERPA Authorization form. 

Here’s why each document matters and why we recommend it for every new parent of a college student. 

Health Care Power of Attorney 

A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to make medical decisions for your child if they become incapacitated. It does not allow you to override their medical decisions but if they are unconscious or another situation in which they cannot speak for themselves, it allows you to make medical decisions for them. 

Financial Power of Attorney 

Like a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney lets you manage your child’s financial matters. From handling bank accounts to applying for financial aid and signing tax returns, this document is crucial for assisting your child with financial responsibilities during their college years. 

HIPAA Authorization Form 

The HIPAA Authorization Form grants you access to your child’s medical records. Without it, healthcare providers are barred from sharing any medical information with you due to privacy laws. This can be a significant barrier during moments of crisis when you are trying to evaluate your child’s health and speak with their college’s student health department. 

FERPA Authorization Form 

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), your child’s educational records are private once they enter college. By completing a FERPA Authorization Form, your child can grant you access to their academic records and other educational information, ensuring you can stay informed about their progress and any issues that arise and even speak with their college advisor if necessary. 

Optional, but Highly Recommended: Last Will and Testament. 

A Last Will and Testament is something every adult child should have before they leave the nest to college. They may not have much in assets, but should a catastrophic issue occur, a Last Will and Testament not only distributes your child’s assets to their beneficiaries but is also names the personal representative or Executor in charge of their estate and the appropriate decision maker.  More importantly, it becomes the foundation and building block to your child’s future estate plan as they develop through life. 

Why Are These Documents Important? 

As your child steps into adulthood, these documents allow you to provide the necessary support and care that your teenager will need. Without them, you may need to seek a court order to gain guardianship rights, which can be time-consuming and stressful during critical moments. Having these documents in place allows you to avoid legal hurdles and focus on what matters most, supporting your child. 

This year, when you make an appointment to create or update these documents during July and August, you will receive a special package price. For a more in-depth discussion on the importance of these documents, watch Chuck Hadad’s interview with Heather Abraham on Talk Pittsburgh 

For more information about Powers of Attorney or other Estate Planning matters, contact Charles Hadad, who leads the Estates & Trusts team at The Lynch Law Group, at or by phone at (724) 776-8000. 


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