Parker County Today October 2017 - Page 56

Sending your child off to college? O and a medical power of attorney, signed by your adult child, authorizing you to access medical records and make medical decisions on his or her behalf if incapacitated, you very well could end up fighting the hospital staff over this at a time when your efforts should be solely centered upon your child. A HIPAA release gives medical professionals permission to share information about their patient with the person(s) authorized thereby. A medical power of attorney allows the authorized person to make health care decisions when a person is incapable of doing it themselves. A durable power of attor- ney allows the authorized person to make financial decisions and access other information (bank accounts, school information, etc.) if a person is inca- pable of doing it. Finally, a Directive to Physicians, or sometimes called a living will, allows a person, who has a terminal (six months or less to live), to choose if they wish to remain on life support indefi- nitely or just be made comfortable and allowed to pass by natural causes. A Directive to Physicians would come into play into play if your child was in a coma and the doctors believed that he/she will not come out of it. The document would allow your child to choose to either allow the doctors to make the call at their discretion or make the call themselves ahead of time. So to prevent the potential fight with the hospital staff over information about your child and life-saving decisions that may need to be made, you should have your child execute these documents prior to them going off to college to assure that, in that time that we all hope does not come, you are not having to deal with more than your child’s well-being. Just as you have done, hopefully, for yourself with your estate planning (i.e., will and attendant documents), you should have these documents prepared and signed by your child, and put the originals in your safe at home sending a copy with your child. With this, you have one less is