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Category: Family Law

Parent Edition: Illinois Healthcare Powers of Attorney

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Written by Olivia St. Clair Long, JD on 8.10.22

When your child heads off to college, it can be bittersweet or very exciting. As a parent, our job never really ends. We want to protect our children even as they move into the other parts of their lives. If your child is heading off to college, they think they’re invincible. Put yourself in their shoes. What do you remember about being that age? You probably weren’t worried about getting ran over by a car and it is most likely you certainly weren’t worried about a pandemic (or endemic).

As parents, we think ahead. It’s part of our job description. One way you can continue to protect your child is by helping them establish an Illinois healthcare power of attorney. Of course, they may not think a legal document of any kind is necessary at their age. Yet, this type of power of attorney for a college student can be absolutely vital.

Many of us here at O. Long Law are parents. So, we understand the concerns you may have about your child. In this blog post, you’ll learn:

  • How an Illinois healthcare power of attorney helps protect your college kid
  • How HIPAA impacts college students (even if you’re paying for everything)
  • The difference between a durable and non-durable medical power of attorney

You’ll also learn what your next step should be with your college kid to establish an Illinois healthcare power of attorney. Let’s dig into a legal document that is generally thought about only for older adults but is very useful in all stages of life!

Why Does a Parent Need an Illinois Healthcare Power of Attorney for Their College Kid?

Of course, most college kids aren’t thinking about an accident that could leave them unable to make their own medical decisions. In addition to the small chance of COVID or COVID related illnesses that can cause some individuals, including young adults, to end up in a coma or have severe, long-term medical issues. There are other illnesses, such as meningitis B, that primarily affect college students.

Without an Illinois healthcare power of attorney for your college student, you would be unable to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to make them. Let’s be real: a broken arm or leg is one thing; a coma, regardless of whether it is medically induced, is something else entirely.

If you and your child’s other parent are no longer together, determining who will make the medical decisions if something happens If you and the other parent do not get along, this can be particularly difficult.

A power of attorney in Illinois is a legal document. In this sense, it allows the named agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal. Your child would be the principal. You would be the named agent. Without it, you will not have the ability to make these decisions on behalf of your child.

You’re the parent. Why can’t you help your young adult in their time of need? Well, they’re an adult…and…HIPAA.

What Is HIPAA for College Students?

It can be disconcerting and very scary to find out that you can’t do much of anything and that you aren’t entitled to any information about your child, especially at a time when they need you most. And it could be that they’re even still on your health insurance, you’re paying for their medical care, and you’re even paying for college.


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Yet, the way HIPAA works is that college students are, technically adults even if their parents pay for everything. So, because they are adults and not minors, unless they’ve signed a waiver or a document that allows you to access their medical records or information, you won’t be entitled to it. A medical power of attorney for your college student that names you as the agent allows you to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to and it provides you with the necessary information from the medical staff to make educational decisions.

The Difference Between a Durable and Non-durable Medical Power of Attorney in Illinois

All powers of attorney are governed by the Illinois Power of Attorney Act. Medical powers of attorney in Illinois can be durable or non-durable. It’s important to recognize the difference between them. When a medical power of attorney is durable, it means that it remains in effect until the document is revoked or until the death of the principal. When a medical power of attorney is non-durable, its power become ineffective if the principal (your child) becomes incapacitated. Generally, an Illinois healthcare power of attorney is durable because these medical decisions must be made because someone cannot make their own medical decisions.

Next Step – Schedule Your Free Consultation: Medical Power of Attorney

We know that college can be an exciting time for both you and your child. On behalf of O. Long Law, we extend our most heartfelt congratulations! We also want to help your family prepare for this new adventure by providing you with a free 30-minute consultation so that you and your family can learn more about how a medical power of attorney can protect you. Don’t wait! Call 847-556-8846 or schedule your free consultation now!

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