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Power of Attorney for Parents that Want to Access their College Age Children's Medical & Financial Information

Posted by Lanre J. Abiola | Nov 25, 2023

Under Wisconsin law, unless you are under a legal guardianship due to disability, you become an adult at age 18. Most college age children are considered adults because they are at least 18 years old. Accordingly, when your child becomes an adult at age 18 and goes to college, you lose your parental rights to be involved in your child's medical and financial affairs—meaning that your child has the legal rights to manage his/her affairs independently without your consent or involvement. 

What does it mean for your college age child to become an adult under Wisconsin law?

Under Wisconsin law, your college age child becomes an adult at age 18. When your child becomes an adult, the rights that he/she will acquire include but are not limited to the following: the ability to independently manage his/her medical and financial affairs; the ability to vote; the ability to enter into contracts; the ability to apply for credit without a cosigner; the ability to buy personal property and real estate; and the ability to create a will. Because your 18 year old child is now an adult and able to independently seek medical treatment, your child is protected by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"). HIPAA is a federal law that protects personal health information from being disclosed without the patient's authorization. In most cases, your child could authorize the medical provider to disclose his/her health information by signing a HIPAA release waiver at the medical provider's office. A HIPAA release waiver form allows medical providers to share a patient's protected health information ("PHI") with specified individuals or organizations, based on the details specified in the form.

However, your college age child will be unable to sign a HIPAA release waiver in emergency situations. 

To be prepared for emergency situations, parents should have access to their college age children's medical & financial records

To be prepared for emergency situations and to have access to vital medical and financial information, parents should hire an attorney to create a power of attorney ("POA") that will provide them with peace of mind and the ability to help their child. For instance, a POA for finances and for healthcare are vital for college age children who are studying abroad. POAs can help if the student has an emergency or doesn't have access to finances while in another country. POAs would allow you, as parents, to pay bills or legally sign for them.

In a medical emergency during college years, to avoid being left in the dark due to your inability as parents to access and make treatment decisions for your child when he/she is unable to complete and sign a HIPAA release waiver, having a POA for healthcare will alleviate that stress and allow you to focus on what matters: your child's wellbeing. A POA for healthcare is a legal document that allows your college age child to appoint who he/she want to receive his/her medical information and, when necessary, make medical care and treatment decisions.

In short, if you have college age children, being prepared for any emergency by having an attorney prepare your POA for finances and for healthcare will provide you peace of mind in knowing that you, as parents, can act in your college age children's best interest in any emergency situations. 

To learn more about updating or creating a new POA, contact Prestige Law Office, LLC. Give the firm a chance to help create your POA by scheduling a consultation and taking the first step in securing your future.

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About the Author

Lanre J. Abiola

Mr. Lanre Abiola founded Prestige Law Office, LLC, with the objective of providing individuals, entrepreneurs, and small and mid-sized businesses with high-quality, cost-effective legal services to achieve the best possible result for clients at a fair cost. Mr. Abiola believes in vigorous advocacy on clients' behalf.

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