Your college-aged children need four documents as they head off to school this fall

AnnMichelle G. Hart, Esq.
June 11, 2021

Congratulations to those of you celebrating this graduation season and looking forward to the fall when your child moves out or heads off to college. There’s one more task that should be added to your To-DO list. And that’s having documents in place in case your child needs your help. 

Hi – I’m Ann. I’m an Estate Planning attorney in Washington State. 
You can find me at or at [email protected]

Here in Washington, a child is legally an adult when they turn 18. I know, they’ll always be your baby, but if they were to get hurt in a collision or other accident, and require hospitalization you would no longer have the automatic authority to make decisions about their medical treatment or handle their financial matters. In fact, without legal documentation, you wouldn’t even be able to access his or her medical records or bank accounts without a court order.

I have a set of four documents every parent and their newly minted adult child should have. Before your child moves out or heads off to college I encourage you to have a conversation with them about contingency planning and have them sign these four documents naming you (the parents) as the people able to help them with medical and/or financial issues: 

1. Durable Financial Power of Attorney

2. Healthcare Power of Attorney

3. HIPPA Authorization (to order medical records)

4. Advanced Healthcare Directive – also known as a “Living Will” in other states (permanently incapacitated or Terminally ill and unable to make their own choices)

So if you have a child who is 18 or will be shortly, and moving out or attending college, contact me to put this set of documents in place to safeguard your peace of mind.