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Question: My daughter is going to live at college in the fall. She is now 18. In case of a problem, do I need anything legally to support her medically or financially?

Answer: It’s that time of year again. I remember my freshman year at college. Though I was technically an 18-year-old adult, I relied heavily upon my parents for support in many ways – financially, medically, emotionally, etc.

Nowadays, college administrators can get carried away in providing students with autonomy from parents. With proper legal authorization, you can equip yourself in the case of an emergency.

Health-care proxy: Many reasonable medical personnel will work with parents for disclosure of information and collaboration of decision-making. Many unreasonable individuals will not. By signing a health-care proxy document, your child can authorize you to step into her shoes in the event of a medical emergency. If your child cannot speak for herself, you will be able to make her health-care decisions. Further, as a designated health-care agent, you will be able to gain access to medical information without delay or hesitation. This is particularly important in dealing with college administrators in the wake of a medical emergency, when information is scarce.

Power of attorney: Many parents will establish joint accounts for children at college. This allows you to access information and, more importantly, to deposit funds. This setup may serve most parents; however, your financial authority ends with this account. Sometimes, kids find themselves in other forms of financial obligation, such as off-campus rental agreements, scholarships, loans, credit cards or meal plans. To be legally prepared to help your student with any problems, you are best equipped with a power-of-attorney status.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law, estate planning and probate at 790 Boston Road, Billerica. He invites questions at james@hlawoffice.com or by phone at 978-671-0711. His website blog is found at www.hlawoffice.com. This column is published for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.