Power of Attorney for College Students
Sending a child off to college is exciting and gratifying for many parents but, if your child has an emergency while he or she is away at school, are you empowered to help solve the problem?
When your child turns eighteen, you lose the legal authority to manage his or her affairs.
If your child is away at college and faces a daunting legal, health or financial challenge, you will most likely not have the legal authority to be told the relevant details, let alone the power to “step in” as and when needed. This is the case even though the college knows that you are the one paying for tuition, books, healthcare and the like!
In order to continue to get access to necessary information/documentation as well as to be able to care for your child’s needs while at college, it is essential to have your child execute a comprehensive Power of Attorney.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document your child signs which gives you the authority to act on his or her behalf in order to manage financial and legal matters, like obtaining financial information, gaining access to college records, applying for scholarships or financial aid, reviewing grades or disciplinary reports, responding to court summons, renewing a drivers’ license, renewing a passport, opening a bank account, getting information relating to an accident or illness, or renewing car registration.
A medical power of attorney can also allow you to gain access to relevant medical and/or insurance information and to make important medical decisions for your son or daughter when they are not able to make it for themselves.
Here are a few things to consider:
How far is your child from home?
If an important legal document needs to be signed, there can be long delays while you mail it to your child, have it arrive through dormitory mail (and absent-minded roommates), he or she finds a notary public, signs it, and then finally mails the document back to you.
Given hectic college schedules (and your busy work schedule), wouldn’t it be much easier to simply have the authority to sign the necessary document on your child’s behalf?
College Financial Aid and Billing
Often times, college age students experience paperwork errors and bureaucratic “glitches” that need to be resolved quickly in order to ensure that your child’s school continues to be properly financed or that he or she is eligible to take mandated or desired classes. Many times colleges take the position of “first come, first served”, so in such situations, time can be of the essence.
Similarly, if you try to call the billing department, even though you are most likely the person paying the tuition, they are likely to refuse to speak with you or to provide vital information unless both you and your child are present together at the school.
A properly drafted and executed power of attorney can help cut through such frustrating bureaucratic red tape, and allow you to take care of these issues in a more timely, efficient, and convenient way.