Q: Our son is leaving for college this week. He has signed a Health Care Power of Attorney, Durable General Power of Attorney and a HIPAA release. Is there anything else legally that we need to do before he leaves?
A: First of all, congratulations on your son’s new adventure. Sounds like he has received some solid advice even before he moves on to pursue his higher education.
It is great that your son completed the important legal step of executing Powers of Attorney and a HIPAA. These documents likely will be his most utilized legal instruments until he graduates.
Unless your son feels extremely comfortable keeping his signed estate planning documents with him while away at college, I would recommend that he place the originals of these documents in your family bank box or fireproof safe. The originals should always remain in a safe location and only copies should be provided to others, barring a few exceptions. However, it is important that he have access to a copy of the documents while away from home. I also would recommend that he provide a copy of these documents to anyone he has named to act as his agent under the Powers of Attorney. Further, I suggest that he and his agents all keep a scanned copy of these documents on their phones for easy access in the case of an emergency. Most attorneys routinely keep a hard and/or an electronic copy of these papers in their client files that can be sent to doctors, hospitals, etc. if a client needs them, which will give you another way to access the documents if you do not have them. However, emergencies do not always happen during business hours and so it is a good idea to try to keep a copy close-at-hand.
If your son has a chronic health condition that will require constant monitoring and checkups while he is away from home, your son may want to provide a copy of his Health Care Power of Attorney and HIPAA to the medical providers at his new location. This will expedite communication between his new health care providers and his appointed agents in the event of an emergency.
If you have questions, about any estate planning matter in Kansas, contact Davis & McCann, P.A., Dodge City, Kansas at 620-225-1674. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). We focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Special Needs Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate, 1031 Exchanges, and related matters.
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