read my profile
sign my guestbook
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Interests: Deep Issues and Silly Things -- i.e. God, Jesus, Christianity, My family, Classical or Jazz music, the Chicago White Sox, and Movies, Kids Theater, Puppets, Comedy, Broadway shows, Xm Radio, other silly stuff . . .
Expertise: Jack of all Trades, Master of None!
Message: message meEmail: email me
Website: visit my website
| My eldest daughter Simi is in her last semester at Illinois State University. She is studying music therapy. There was an article in the "Daily Vidette," ISU's newspaper, about student internship programs. (After Simi completes here eight semesters, she is required to do a six month internship). These two photos were featured with the article, pictures of Simi singing and playing guitar and working with a partner while playing the flute as they work with residents in a hospital setting for her current practicum placement. |
One of the most important things a parent can do is to provide his/her child with a good education. Here in the U.S., children are provided an education that is primarily government subsidized through the public school systems. But the ability to attend a particular school is determined by whether the student’s family resides within the geographic boundaries of the district. Unfortunately, many people (particularly poorer families residing in urban areas) live in school districts where the schools are inadequate at best. How can parents find a way to get their children a better education?
The most obvious way is for the family relocate to a better district. But many families can’t afford housing in a more upscale neighborhood, or, in today’s economy, can’t sell their home for enough to make the move. If the family stays put, a private school is an option, but the expense there can be too much, or the student might not meet admission requirements. The family could try home schooling, but if both parents work, this is near impossible.
The last solution is one many families choose -- to simply enroll their kids in the better public school district, even though they don’t live there.
Of course, in most cases, in Illinois, this is illegal. I used to represent several public school districts in the southern suburbs of Chicago. Each semester, these schools discovered dozens of children sent by their parents from inner city Chicago neighborhoods to attend school in the suburbs. To these parents the risk of being caught breaking the law was worth it -- the schools and neighborhoods were safer, and the quality of the education was infinitely better.
But the cost to the school districts where these “cheaters” enroll can be astronomical. According to a recent article in the Illinois Bar Journal, the average cost to taxpayers per student in the Chicago suburbs ranges from $7,000 to $10,000 per year. But if the student is in special education, and requires additional service, the cost can skyrocket to five or six times that amount. The cost of educating each student is presumed to belong to the district in which the student lives.
What happens when a student is “caught” attending school in a district where they don’t live? In Illinois, the school will notify the family that tuition (that is, the school’s cost of educating that student) must be paid. A family that objects and claims the child legitimately resides in district has an opportunity for due process. But proving the child meets the residency requirements is a lot tougher than showing the kid lives in a domicile in the district.
Illinois law provides that in order to prove residency in a public school district, the parent or legal guardian of the child must show 1) that they have legal custody of the child and 2) that the student resides in the district for purposes other than merely attending school.
Under the school code, a minor child is presumed to reside with its parents, or custody can be established by a court order, guardianship, or custody by an adult exercising legal responsibility for the student. But the school code is clear a custody arrangement created for the sole purpose of the child attending school in a particular district is NOT valid.
This last concept is the biggest hurdle in Illinois. Generally, the Courts strictly uphold this rule. So simply having your child move in with Grandma or another relative isn’t enough. Even if that relative has been appointed a legal guardian. Even where there might be some other valid reason for the child to stay with the relative. If there family can’t prove a legitimate, non-school related reason for the move, there is a good chance the family will be handed a tuition bill.
Sometimes, the circumstances are compelling enough to sway the courts. Sometimes broken homes and financial difficulties force the parents to send the child elsewhere. Where the totality of the evidence shows the child’s residency is necessary for a steady or secure family life, the courts might rule in favor of establishing residency in a home other than the parents’. For example, if a single mother abandoned a child, the father is unknown, and the child ends up living with the mother’s sister in a more affluent district, the school might be hard pressed to claim the custody was solely school related. But each case is decided on its facts, and the courts tend to favor the schools.
There are some special rules in Illinois which allow homeless children to attend school where that child live before they became homeless, or where they are actually living at the time, though there have been instances where districts have refused to enroll students who can’t show residency because they technically don’t have one. In today’s foreclosure crisis, this issue may become more acute.
Then there are the Illinois parents who attempt to establish a second residence themselves. Rather than have the kids live with Grandma in the swanky suburb, one parent will rent an apartment in order to get their child into a better school, while the rest of the family stays in the longstanding family home. Illinois law on residency, however, requires both a physical presence and the intent to make that domicile a permanent residence. For example, if only one parent moves with the child, or if the family resides together in the established home on weekends, leaving the apartment vacant at times when school is not in session, the Courts have not treated the arrangement favorably. Of course, in the case of a divorce, it may be easier to show the reasons for a child to move to the other parent’s abode -- though if there is joint custody, the parents still might have to prove which house the child regularly spends his nights. But in any case, if the family cannot prove the child regularly sleeps in the abode other than to have access to educational programs in the district, there could even be a tuition bill where there IS a family residence in the district.
What about Indiana? Those of us dealing with this situation in the southern suburbs of Chicago can gaze over the state line and see a slightly different picture. While the concepts are similar, Indiana law is not quite so strict. And a recent change allowing school districts (called “school corporations” in Indiana) to “loosen up” residency requirements has really changed the rules completely.
Traditionally, a public school student in Indiana could attend school tuition free in the school corporation where he/she established “legal settlement.” “Legal settlement” was generally defined as where a student’s parents resided, or the resident of a legal guardian. A student could attend school in a corporation where he/she did not reside if the student or his/her parents paid transfer tuition to another school corporation and the second school corporation is willing to accept the student (similar to Illinois’ rules); the student could demand to be “better accommodated” in another school corporation; or the student might have been placed in a licensed health care facility, child care facility, or foster home in an area outside the student's legal settlement.
The concept of “better accommodation” was designed to allow for a student who was pursuing a particular vocational training program or college preparatory course, and their home school corporation did not offer such programs. The student could be allowed to transfer to the district that offered the necessary classes. Other issues that could allow for a “better accommodation” transfer were overcrowding, a medical/disability need, or if the home school corporation lost its certification. If the schools were not cooperative, all this would have to be argued and proved in court. But if the transfer for “better accommodation” was granted, there was no need to pay the tuition. (Illinois has a procedure similar to this for special needs students, but it generally will only be allowed for children that are in special education and require services the home district can’t afford to or don’t have the capacity to provide).
But then the Indiana School Law was amended effective July 1, 2010 to allow for what some school officials are calling “open enrollment.” It’s really not “open,” by any means. But the new law allows schools to accept students from other districts for cash tuition. However, each school corporation is allowed to establish its own cash tuition policies, require parents to adhere to them, or decide to not accept students from outside the district at all. The Legislature has pretty much left the details of how this will work up to the individual school corporations.
I have heard rumors that one of the top-rated school systems in Lake County Indiana is openly promoting its cash tuition options -- in effect, advertising for students from other school districts to choose to transfer there, despite not living in that municipality. How can this be?
Last year, the Indiana legislature changed the way schools are funded. Before last year, if a parent wanted to send their student to a school corporation different from their “legal settlement,” the family would be responsible to pay the equivalent of the per-pupil cost of in new school, based on what the school collected in local taxes. But now, public education is pooled into a statewide “general fund.” Thus, public education in Indiana is now funded at the state level by more than just property taxes, rather than at the local level. This means that as long as parents elect to make this choice, and the new school accepts them before final enrollment figures are established in early September of each school year, there will be little or no extra “tuition” that will be required. Indeed, all the family will probably be liable to pay is the difference between the per-pupil cost in their home school corporation and the new on, if any.
This is truly a radical concept. But there are limitations. As mentioned, the school could adopt objective policies to screen potential students, such as minimal academic thresholds. As long as it’s objectively fair, it’s allowed. The old “better accommodation” standards are still available, but probably won’t need to be invoked much anymore. Plus, once a student is accepted by a new school, the school can’t revoke that enrollment; the “legal settlement” is established in the new school corporation, regardless of where the student lives. (Of course, the student could still be excluded for disciplinary or health reasons, as was true in their home corporation). The one big hitch in this concept is athletics. No “cash tuition” transfer to a new school will be allowed if it appears it was done primarily for athletic reasons, and the student involved will be barred from interscholastic sports at the new school.
So there is a stark contrast between the public school residency requirements of Indiana and Illinois. In Illinois, a parent takes a legal risk by trying to enroll his/her student to a school district in which they do not live. For under Illinois law, a family that sends a student to an out-of-district school without paying for it commits fraud. There is also a risk that a family which legitimately meets the residency requirements could be accused of violating the statute in instances where the facts are questionable, e.g. a student coming to live with his divorced father when he starts high school after years of living with his mother.
Indiana, on the other hand, is blazing a new trail in the world of “school freedom, allowing students to attend a school corporation in a town or county they do not live in as long as they are willing to meet certain criteria established by the school and are willing to pay the difference in the tuition. But this is an untested concept. Will many students actually make the switch? How will this affect the poor performing schools? Will the “prime” schools face overcrowding? What happens when a school turns away students that objectively seem to qualify? Only time will tell whether the new Indiana “cash tuition” program will succeed.
My Bible translation of choice for many, many years has been the New International Version. I always felt it was a solid translation, using modern language to accurately reflect original meaning. For a time, it was the choice for most of evangelical Christendom.
But then came the controversy. In 1997,the NIV's publisher, Zondervan, attempted to revise the translation with a view towards political correctness. The publisher south to make the NIV gender-neutral by often getting rid of "man," "he," "brothers," and so on -- a seeming attempt to pander to the political left. The evangelical world reacted violently. As WORLD Magazine pointed out recently, the NIV was then the most trusted Bible in America, with slightly over a 50 percent of the market share. Many evangelicals felt betrayed when a small committee seemed to secretly made changes that appealed to feminists. WORLD Magazine, which broke this story, took to calling this "new and improved" translation the "Stealth Bible."
Zondervan reacted to these waves of negative publicity, and put the plans to edit the NIV on hold. Eventually, the publisher tried to have its cake and eat it too -- an advertising campaign began pledging to maintain the NIV as it was (as if some outside force had started the trouble), but then Zondervan published the new translation as a separate edition -- a gender-neutral TNIV (the T standing for "Today's"). The result was really a failure in both instances. The TNIV did not sell at all, and the NIV's market share is now probably less than half what it was in 1997. I guess it was sort of like the new "Coke." It doesn't pay to mess with success.
But now, in late 2010, WORLD Magazine reported that Zondervan has released online a new NIV, after spending a year preparing the way. This time Zondervan was open about its plans. This time its affiliated "Committee on Bible Translation" reached out to critics and solicited their input. This time the "Stealth Bible's" leading critic, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), praised "significant improvements." Partly because of those better processes and results, there's little fire this time.
Of course, there are criticisms of the new translation -- but I don't want to look at that. I want to look at a revision the 2010 edition of the NIV made that actually makes the meaning of one of the most beloved verses in the bible clearer -- at least to me.
The verse I speak of is Philippians 4:13. Back when I first became a committed Christian back in the 1970s, the Bible translation of choice among my peers was the New American Standard Version of the Bible. In that version, the verse read:
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
My Christian friends and I, in our youth and exuberance, all claimed this as a mantra of triumph and victory – we can do ALL things. Just believe. It will happen! Not some things, or most things – but ALL THINGS!
The former NIV translation was a little more subtle, but still very useful for those of us with “name it/claim it” inclinations.
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
The new, 2010 release of the NIV makes what appears to be a pretty radical change.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
“All this?” What does it mean by “this?”
Even when put in the context of the passage, the original NAS translation can’t possibly mean victory and the ability to overcome in any circumstance. At least not in the way I have perceived "victory" and "overcoming." The context is Paul explaining the need to content in any circumstance. Verse 13 sums up the passage – we can indeed come to the point where we are content in all circumstances, even what appears to be dire, awful circumstances, through Christ who strengthens us.
Indeed, the original language also implies it. It literally means “all things” but implies a collective concept. When it says "all," it means "all," as in "some of all types," not just the thing upon which I am focusing in the here and now. In connection with the other verses around this one, it means "all things that are pleasing to God". What we can do (in the context of verse 13), the "all " that this verse encompasses, are the things that Christ empowers us to do. We can’t do it on our own – it’s not our strength. The Amplified Version says that “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength to me, [that is, I am self sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].”
So what Philippians 4:13 is really talking about is contentment in Christ, and needing strength from Christ in order to be content, not carte blanche to overcome difficulty. We used to use that verse to as a prayer to command the spirit world to give us what we perceived God wanted us to have – victory, health, success, prosperity etc. When what it really means is we are willing to be content in whatever God has for us.
Boy do I have a long way to go to come to grips with that. But it certainly makes more sense than me trying to quote the verse at the sky, demanding that God prosper my business, and then being angry at him when I don’t see results on my timetable. I need to grasp the concept that God wants me to be content with the little I currently have, and he’ll give me the strength, ability, and inner fortitude to be self sufficient in THAT, and that alone.
And that revelation, to me, is worth the concept of discovering it in the midst of this new translation.
Last Tuesday morning, the news in my world that I faced as I got out of bed was not particularly good.
I went to work out at the Community Center. While walking the treadmill, the TV monitor was on, and I got to soak in all the wonderful economic news our region is dealing with.
And by "wonderful," I am being extremely sarcastic.
First, it was the top headline here in Chicago: In the wee hours of the morning, the lame-duck Illinois Legislature had approved what is ostensibly the biggest tax increase in our state's history. The Illinois income tax is going up 67 percent. Worse is the business/corporate taxes. The combined federal and state business taxes males Illinois one of the most expensive states in the US to do business in.
For those of us living, earning, and doing business here in the southern suburbs of Chicago, its as if the Legislature has thrown a drowning man an anvil instead of a life preserver. This is extremely frustrating. I understand the need to try and close the gap on the State's budget deficit. I understand that the State needs to pay its bills. But this really misses the mark. I don't want this discussion to get too political, but the major beneficiaries of this tactic are special interests like the state employee pension plan. There are promises of money for education, but the legislature refused to pass the increase in the cigarette tax, the one concept that guaranteed increased funding for education. And by not going the whole way to the proposed 75% increase, the entities that depend on state funding to survive (like nursing homes that provide care to Medicaid recipients) will not be getting the money promised to them. The practical reality for this region is this -- we are already hemorrhaging. Our unemployment rate is two to three points above national averages. Businesses are closing left and right. And right across the state line, in Indiana, is a much more palatable business environment. Businesses and jobs will be leaving the state in droves. Local commentator John Kass has wondered if the legislature has included the cost of the razor wire fence that will be needed to keep businesses in the state.
Then, as the news progressed, there was a round-table discussion about the economic forecast for the coming year. It was dire. Unemployment to reach new heights by the spring. Record numbers of businesses closing. Record numbers of bankruptcies. Real Estate continuing to decline. It was, to be blunt, a pretty dismal discussion.
Then I started my workday. Business has been pretty slow for me lately. Combined with increased frustration relating to office equipment and my own sense of foreboding as I tackle project after project dealing concepts I have never done before, or haven't done for over ten years, and anger and depression begins to set in. I feel like I need primal scream therapy as I try and sort out bad internet connections, trying to installing software on my new laptop when I'm not sure what I'm doing, having a "smartphone" that should be renamed the "not so smart phone." More frustrations than I can shake a stick at.
And then the depression sets in. Like a black cloud. All this effort. All this capital. Every fiber of my being invested in this concept of being an "entrepreneur." Trying to make a living. For what? There is hardly any business. What little business I have produces an income that is a mere fraction of what I used to make. I've been at this now for two years, and nothing seems to change. And then with this news, it seems pointless to continue.
Many of my friends try to encourage me by reminding me that God is good. Look at all the blessings he's provided for me. God has given me obvious successes. Things may seem tough now, but they'll turn around. I recognize that, but sometimes, this heaviness, the fallout from the day to day struggle is just so hard to resist. It is like a deep darkness that settles over me, and I feel like I'm disappearing. As I keep figuratively banging my head against the wall, I get tired. Very, very, very tired. I want to pull the covers over my head and disappear from existence. I just want to give up.
And then, as i cracked open my bible, and read about a man who was having a similar day to mine.
My devotional reading took me to 1 Kings 19. Its the middle of an extended narrative about the life of the Prophet Elijah.
Elijah was a prophet who was always on the run. He confronted one of the most vile, evil regimes to rule Israel in those times, King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Ahab's father Omri had sought to cement an alliance with the northern kingdom of Israel and the surrounding pagan powers by pairing his son with a foreign princess, the daughter of the King of Sidon who was also a priestess of Baal. When she came to keep house with Ahab, she brought with her a huge entourage of priests and prophets of Baal and Ashteroth, the most popular pagan deities of the time. The worship of Yahweh was forced underground. Elijah, by standing up for who God was, was truly counter cultural -- preaching the truth to a society that had rejected God. Indeed, Elijah's name means "Yahweh is my God."
Elijah appeared out of nowhere to confront the King and his sin. He boldly predicted the drought that would grip the nation. He was forced into hiding, but God miraculously provided for him -- he lived in the wilderness, fed by ravens. Through him, God had miraculously provided oil for the widow of Zarephath, and raised her son from the dead.
Then came what is ostensibly his greatest triumph -- the confrontation on Mt. Carmel. The story is well known. Two altars were built -- one for Baal, one for the Lord. Elijah's challenge was simple -- the followers of each God would pray for fire to fall from heaven and consume the sacrifice on that God's altar. When the fire fell, it would prove which God was real.
The priests of Baal danced, sang, prayed, and even cut and mutilated their own bodies for blood to flow on the sacrifice. All day, until the sun was setting, they continued. Of course, there was no response. After ordering the Lord's altar drenched in water, Elijah prayed, and the fire fell from the sky, consuming the sacrifice. Elijah seized the moment, declaring that the prophets of Baal should be killed on the spot, and prayed for an end to the drought, and the rain began to fall.
This would seem to be Elijah's moment of greatest success, yet, it doesn't turn out that way. Here's what happened next:
"Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God." (1 Kings 19: 1-8)
Its an amazing story, yet, one I easily identify with. Elijah had indeed just experienced a great triumph. His blessings were many. The success God had brought to him were clear. But, this was also the first time he had been confronted directly by the evil Queen Jezebel. She promised to kill him, with a solemn oath. He had been living "life on the run," and had been getting by with very little. Considering the track record of how often the King's administration, or even the people generally, had embraced or even bothered to pay attention to what he was saying, well, discouragement was probably his usual reaction. So even in the wake of a heady victory, when trouble reared up, the difficulties overshadowed the triumph.
Indeed, the contrast is striking. As soon as this threat appeared, as soon as trouble showed up, Elijah lost sight of the victory and the blessing, and was consumed with discouragement and depression. I am sure the death threat was just he topper to a series of discouragements that became a weight to him, so that even in that glorious triumph on Mt. Carmel, the constant drip of rejection and disappointment was too much for Elijah to bear.
Its as if he was thinking, "See? Even when good things happen, the pattern of my life continues." I so identify with this. I have experienced so much of God's blessings during the last two years, yet, getting smacked in the face over and over again with discouragement and uncertainty causes me to lose heart. Our psyches and souls can be so very, very fragile. I can't tell you how often I have felt like Elijah -- sitting under that tree after another disappointment, wishing I could die.
But the greatest encouragement in all of this is the way that God deals with Elijah after he falls asleep beneath the broom tree. God doesn't rebuke him. Elijah is not rejected. God does not consider Elijah unusable. Indeed, God doesn't say anything at all. God understands where Elijah is at -- He understands how spiritually bone-weary Elijah is. So he kindly and gently provides the thing that Elijah needs the most at that point. A meal. And he allows him to rest. Then, he makes sure Elijah gets a second helping.
Because we know what is going to happen next, we see what God is doing here. God knows there's a lot of work to be done. God knows the enemies are powerful and numerous. God knows the journey will be long and hard. So He sends his angel to Elijah to make sure he has not one, but two helpings of a nourishing, home cooked meal, so he can be ready for the journey ahead. God met Elijah right were he was -- discouraged, hopeless, too tired to continue -- and provided just what he needed to be revitalized.
I can't tell you how many times I have in a place like Elijah's broom tree in the wilderness, and God has brought me angelic provision. It sometimes has been miraculous, like an anonymous gift to meet a financial need. Sometimes its been the support and encouragement of our friends. Sometimes its that phone call from a new client, just when I thought there wasn't going to be enough business to make it. Sometimes its just the Lord, shining his light of truth into my brain like he did here. Even in the midst of abject discouragement and bone weary tiredness, God is there to take my hand.
Philippians 4:19 says "my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." I often perceive that my needs need to be met according to my own design. But when my body, mind, and spirit are tired and sagging, God graciously provides the nourishment I need. My own resources are limited. Dare I say, bankrupt? Yet God, in His grace, supplies me with bountiful resources that are more than sufficient.
Like Elijah, I am on a journey. I suppose I will continue to have "broom tree" episodes. I will face bad news, discouragement, and threats again and again. I will again feel like giving up. But God will be there, providing all I need -- according to the riches of his glory.
It doesn't make the bad news any better. But it does give me strength. And hope. Hope that I can also continue to have Mt. Horeb episodes (see 1 Kings 19: 9-15), where I meet the Lord face to face, and hear what he has for me.
Planning for the future is important. We need to provide for our family in case something unexpected occurs. Many of my clients achieve a level of “peace of mind” through an appropriately tailored estate plan. But if there are adult dependent children living in the family, the estate plan might need an extra step. Adult dependent children need an estate plan, too.
"Say what? My 18 year old child needs a will?”
Well, not exactly. But your 18 year old child does need to give you the legal authority to act on their behalf should they become disabled and unable to communicate. Why? Because health care providers and the colleges your child attends consider your child an adult when it comes to decisions relating to health care and school records. Add to this the ramifications of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (known by its infamous acronym “HIPAA”), and health care providers become loathe to disclose any information about your son or daughter.
This shouldn’t happen. The HIPAA privacy regulations offer exceptions which give health care providers some “common sense” discretion to disclose “personal health information” to “a family member, other relative, or a close personal friend.” (45 CFR 164.510(b)). This rule goes on to specifically allow a provider to use its professional judgment and experience with common practice in deciding whether and what to tell such persons.
But many providers overreact, and interpret HIPAA’s privacy protections as an absolute barrier to all disclosure. This leads to absurd results. For example, a client told me about a college sophomore who traveled to an “away game” for the school’s hockey team. This young lady was somehow injured at the game, and transported by ambulance to a local hospital. The student’s parents were notified that their daughter had been hospitalized, but no one was willing to disclose where she had been taken, or the extent of her injuries. Those parents spent a sleepless night worrying until their daughter contacted them the next morning, fortunately not seriously injured.
How can parents avoid this? By having their college aged children execute a durable power of attorney. This is a legal document that permits the child to appoint a parent (or other person) as agent to carry out certain functions and make decisions in their place. It is a simple form that is “fill in the blanks” and signed – no court order or other action is needed (though I do recommend consulting an attorney -- the instructions in the body of the document should be tailored for the specific situation). Under Illinois law, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care permits your child to appoint you or your spouse as an agent while expressing their personal wishes about health care decisions in the event they become incapacitated. In addition, I recommend executing a Durable Power of Attorney for Property to cover issues relating to school records (e.g. in the event of an emergency when the child is unavailable or missing, the school clearly understands the child’s intent to allow information to be given to his/her parents).
While the exceptions to the HIPAA privacy regulations should allow parents to receive critical information about the medical treatment of their adult college-aged children, a properly worded and executed power attorney gives parents the specific, direct authority to overcome the misinterpretation of privacy rules. Some students might balk at the idea of their parents having access to their records, but these documents can be personalized to only allow such access in the event of an emergency. I recommend that parents of college aged children arrange to have their kids execute the appropriate powers of attorney before they start school in the fall (or now, as they are returning to school after the holiday break), and have copies filed with the appropriate authorities and health care providers on campus. Then, they can head off situations like the one I described, and be assured that whatever happens, they will be “in the know” regarding their child’s status at schoolhttp://jrusslaw.blogspot.com/2011/01/estate-planning-for-teenagers.html
My firm's website http://www.jrusslaw.com