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Legal tools useful for protecting your college-bound child

We have a couple of fine institutions of higher learning here in Brevard County: Eastern Florida State College and Florida Institute of Technology. While both schools will be welcoming new students after the summer ends, a lot of families will opt to send their students outside of the county or even outside of Florida.

With the changes in addresses come changes in age (most freshmen are 18) and legal status. Even though parents might well continue to foot the bills for their student, they no longer have the same access to their child’s records, such as records for health, education and finances. Those changes make it important for those heading off to school to designate a health care surrogate or health care power of attorney.

While it might be emotionally difficult for parents to accept, their 18-year-old has the right to make their health care decisions. Because Florida law recognizes the right of adults to create an advance health care directive that tells their doctor to provide or withhold life-prolonging procedures, it’s important for young adults to make those and protect those decisions.

Let’s face it: these changes in legal status, age and address are important parts of growing up and becoming full-fledged adults. In addition to having in place the health care power of attorney or health care surrogate designation, it might, in some situations, also make sense for a young adult to make a will.

It should be noted, of course, that 18-year-olds are often likely to designate their parents to make health care decisions for them if circumstances ever make that necessary. There will, of course, be some situations in which someone other than a parent will be named.

All of these matters can be taken care of with the help of a Brevard County attorney who understands how to protect clients with simple, effective legal tools.

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