Are You Ready for College?

A. Jude Avelino

In the wake of recent on campus tragedies, there are some facts you should be armed with before dropping your child off at college. Even though he or she will always be your child, once turning 18, they are a legal adult with many privacies protected; disciplinary and medical records to name two.

While you spend months preparing and anticipating for everything your child might need for college, did you consider creating a Power of Attorney (POA) and Healthcare proxy for your young adult? A properly executed Power of Attorney allows a parent, family member or trusted friend to act on his or her behalf; even if only for a temporarily incapacitated child, to make healthcare decisions, manage money and access bank accounts. If your child gets sick or injured, a Power of Attorney may grant you access to otherwise private health records.

As we have seen too many times on the news; this is a real-life scenario. Accidents account for 46 % of deaths for people 15-24 years old. If your child is rushed to the hospital, their medical condition does not need to be disclosed to you under HIPAA laws, even if they are still under your health insurance. Even in less dramatic terms, if your child is travelling abroad or leasing housing, having these documents safeguards an already bad situation from turning dire.

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Think you are entitled to see your son or daughter’s grades, just because you are paying tuition? While a college student, he or she is protected by a law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In many states, FERPA prevents parents from seeing grades unless the child grants the institution permission to do so. A POA gives the agent ( most often a parent) the rite to access these transcripts.

With all the other stresses and expenses associated with the college experience, the relatively inexpensive process of creating these documents allows for piece of mind; and that’s priceless. It is a powerful tool to have these documents as an option. You hopefully will never need them, but if you do need them and don’t have them, it will only compound the original problem. Think and prepare for the unthinkable in advance.

If you have questions or are interested in a complimentary meeting to discuss POA, healthcare proxies or any legal matter, please contact us at or 908 273-5730.

Merging two law firms with impressive resumes and an equally stout slate of accomplishments has resulted in the formation of Summit- and New York City-based Avelino & Hartlaub, LLP. The partnership is the result of the coming together of Hartlaub & Dotten and Avelino Law.

Avelino & Hartlaub’s primary practice areas include: Real Estate; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Elder Law; Corporate Law; Land Use & Zoning; and Litigation. While the scope of the firm's services is wide, a key differentiator of the new firm is the insight, dedication to excellence, and commitment to client service within each area. 

Avelino & Hartlaub, LLP has offices in Summit, at 47 River Road, and in Manhattan at 928 Broadway, Suite 1105. For more information, including a free and private consultation, call 908-273-5730 or contact

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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