Plan ahead to protect your student in case of medical emergency.
In my son’s first year of college, he had a late night of playing video games with friends, slept in late, and after a shower, blacked out and hit his head – hard! – on the corner of his dorm bed. His roommate found him unconscious on the floor, got him to the emergency room, then called me in a panic. But the doctor would not speak with me because my son was already 18 and I didn’t have the correct legal documents.
The federal HIPAA law gives patients complete medical privacy when they are adults!
I was frantic, not knowing when – if ever – he would wake up, or would need surgery, or even what his current condition was. I felt completely helpless, frustrated, and angry because I could not assist my son through this major medical event. I was mad at myself because I had failed to plan ahead. What is even worse is that I had been an estate planning attorney for many years before he left for college. I really should have known better!
I started this service to help other parents.
How Does it Work?
(Note: California Residents Only)
Step 1: Answer A Few Questions Online
Fill out our simple form to name up to three people, one at a time, who can act as decision makers for health and financial issues in case your student has a medical emergency.
Step 2: Receive Documents By Email
Our legal staff will prepare your Student Protection Plan and review the documents for accuracy, and within 2 business days, you will receive them by email with detailed instructions.
Step 3: Print & Notarize Documents
Print them out, get them signed, and enjoy the feeling of being prepared for whatever might come next!
“Now that I have my student’s Protection Plan, I feel so much better about my daughter moving away to Boston for college. If she gets very sick for some reason, I will be able to work with her doctors and the school to handle things. I won’t be left in the dark, which is really important to me. It was so easy to do and the price was well worth the peace of mind.“
Lynne E., California Parent
Ready to protect your student?
Q: How much does the service cost?
A: If you hire an estate planning attorney to prepare these documents, it will cost at least one to three hours of their time to meet with you, gather the information, prepare the documents, and meet again to get them notarized. Typical attorney fees can range from $300 to $600 per hour, so it would normally cost $600 to $2500 with a traditional lawyer. By using our proprietary process and arranging for the notary yourself, you will get high quality attorney-drafted and reviewed documents for only $275.
Q: Does the student need to be a California resident?
A: Yes! All powers of attorney are based on a specific state’s laws. These documents are designed for young adults whose permanent residence or parent’s address is in California, even if they are going to college in another state.
Q: My student is not yet 18. Can she sign these now?
A: No, she needs to be an adult before she can sign them. We suggest you purchase a Student Protection Plan for her now, and hold the documents until after her 18th birthday.
Q: Do the documents have a HIPPA waiver?
A: Yes! The federal HIPPA law protects patient privacy by restricting access to any adult’s medical records. The Student Protection Plan allows parents to see their student’s medical information and work directly with the providers in case of medical emergency.
Q: I am paying tuition but the college won’t let me see my student’s transcript! Do the documents solve this problem?
A: In theory, yes, because the Student Protection Plan includes FERPA waiver language giving the student’s permission for the school to share academic records with you. In practice though, some universities will not honor the general FERPA waiver because they want the student to specifically allow the release of a particular document on a particular day. Each institution will have their own FERPA waiver forms. We suggest you inquire with the records office about their specific procedures, and fill out their forms before a medical emergency occurs, if they will allow it. We also recommend that your student add you as an Authorized User on their campus billing and class registration online systems. This will allow you to login with your own password and view the records that way. Then you won’t need the college’s approval if an emergency occurs.
Q: Do these documents work in any state?
A: Yes. All states will honor legal documents from other states due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of our US Constitution, which requires each state to respect the laws of other states. There is no need to obtain a second set of documents in the state where your student attends college unless they become a permanent resident of that state.
Q: What if my student is going to college in California but the family home is in a different state?
A: This service is not for your student unless they are a permanent resident of California. We recommend you work with an estate planning attorney in the family’s home state.
Q: How long does it take to get the documents?
A: After you spend about 15 minutes answering a few questions and make your payment, your Student Protection Plan will arrive in your inbox within 2 business days. This gives our legal staff time to prepare and review everything for accuracy.
Q: My student is out of state right now. Can we still do this?
A: Yes! Once you receive the documents by email, forward them to your student’s email. They will simply need to print and sign before a notary, which can happen in any state (or at a US Consulate abroad).
Q: Can my student fill out the online form or does the parent need to do it?
A: Yes, simply share the Get Started link with your student. They will need to enter payment information themselves at the end of the process.
Q: Do you offer refunds or changes?
A: At this time we are unable to provide refunds or make substantive changes after your documents are sent to you. You will be able to return to the form as needed prior to submitting it to us, so please take care to enter names and addresses with the correct spellings before proceeding to payment.
Q: How can I be confident that these documents will work for my situation?
A: Our founder, Laura W. Patton, is a California attorney with over 30 years of experience in the estate planning field. Her goal in providing this service is to make this complex legal situation as simple as possible, so more families will sleep well at night knowing they have all the elements in place in case of emergencies. If you are dissatisfied after you receive the documents, please reach out to us and we will do our best to make it right.
Q: What should we do with the signed documents?
A: With your Student Protection Plan, you will get detailed instructions on the next steps. The key is to have a copy of the notarized documents where you can easily locate them at short notice. We suggest scanning them to pdf files and making sure all parents, guardians, and roommates get copies. A physical (paper) copy should be kept where a roommate or housemate can find it. We also recommend you provide a copy of the medical document to the campus health system and any other medical provider working with the student.
Q: What exactly does the Student Protection Plan include?
A. You will receive an Advance Health Care Directive for medical matters, and a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters. The Advance Health Care Directive names up to three people, one at a time, to work with the young adult’s medical providers in case of incapacity. It also provides a HIPPA waiver to allow access to medical records. The Durable Power of Attorney allows the named decision maker to become a signer on bank accounts, to manage bills, work with landlords, handle taxes, and deal with most financial matters. It includes a FERPA waiver designed to streamline access to student academic records.
Q: My child is a young adult but not a college student. Will this work for him?
A: Yes! These documents are designed for any young adult living in California (or living out of state with the intent to return to California). The documents are NOT a full estate plan because they do not include a Will or Living Trust. If your child has significant assets in their name, they should consult an estate planning attorney to protect those assets. If they do not have significant assets, these documents will allow them to name decision makers in case of emergency.
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