It’s graduation season! Make sure you are preparing your college-aged kids!

It’s graduation season! And a vital time to make sure you are preparing your college-aged kids, and yourself, for going to college.

We usually don’t think about our children needing to sign legal documents, but once a child turns 18, they become legally recognized as an adult and a parent loses the right to act on the child’s behalf. Because of this, before you send your adult child off to college, there are a few things that you need to make sure they have.  

We call this their “GAP” documents, which include:

Medical Power of Attorney + HIPAA Authorization

A Medical Power of Attorney and HIPAA Authorization authorizes a parent to make medical decisions on behalf of their young adult and to receive medical information. If a young adult is ill, in an accident, or otherwise becomes incapacitated, even for a short time, a medical power of attorney is imperative. Without this written authority to act, a parent will need to go to court to be named guardian to act on his or her adult child’s behalf.

Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney authorizes a parent to handle financial matters on behalf of their young adult. Not only can an agent under a financial power of attorney make financial decisions during incapacity but can also do things like negotiate contracts or leases if the child is out of the country. Like a Medical Power of Attorney, without this, a parent will need to be named guardian by the court to act on the adult child’s behalf.


If your young adult is going off to college, the university may have a proprietary FERPA release, but often they will tell a parent to get a generic third-party release form. For this reason, we include a FERPA release as a part of our GAP documents for our clients. 

Simple Will

If your child has assets like a bank account, or a savings or UGMA account, however small, they need a Will.  The cost of closing out an account without a Will is almost 3x the cost of probating a simple Will.

The team at Thrash, Carroll and & Vanway is here to make sure you and your family are prepared for these milestones and life changes, and would be happy to assist you! Contact us at 512.263.5400 or