Back to School: Are You Prepared?

I was reminiscing the other day about my son’s first day of kindergarten. He was so excited for school to start that the moment he woke up he got dressed. I on the other hand was a weepy mess in the car after dropping him off.

It’s a few years later and the roles are reversed. He’s not as excited anymore and I can’t wait! No longer will I hear “I’m bored,” every day.  Soon I will just hear his nightly complaints about homework.

As parents, we have homework, too. Here are a few things to get in order for this school year.

If You Have Minor Children

  • Create or update your Temporary Guardian of Minor Children. This legal document allows individuals to temporarily care for you child when you are on vacation or in an emergency. This document is only effective for six months so you must continually re-execute it.
  • Make sure you have emergency contacts including your child’s doctor listed at your child’s school as well as in your wallet and on your refrigerator, instead of just in your phone. What if you (like me) become so freaked when you get a call from the school nurse that your son split his chin open and needs stitches that you completely blank on the doctor’s name to look them up?
  • If you child has not yet memorized their address and important phone numbers, tuck this into their backpack and show her where it is.

If You Have Kids in College

  • Encourage (and maybe pay for) your college student to create their own Financial and Health Care Power of Attorney. Most kids will still name their parent as their agent on these documents. This will ensure you or someone else can help your child in an emergency.
  • Are you still on your child’s car title or bank account? Consider removing yourself for liability purposes. If you are on the car title with your son and he gets in a car accident, you are likely to get sued. And likewise, if you are a joint owner on your daughter’s bank account, her account is susceptible to your creditor issues.
  • If you are paying for college and want to ensure a return on your investment, ask your child to fill out a FERPA waiver granting you access to their grades.
  • Along the same lines, ask your child to execute a HIPAA authorization granting whomever they name as their healthcare agents access to their health information.

Only a few check-list items. Don’t complain! Buckle down and get it done. And if you need help with any of the legal documents, please call us. We love helping parents complete their homework.

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