I wrote a few months ago about what to do if you have a young adult child coming home from college. Many of these items are also true if you have a young adult child in the military. I have a 21 year old son serving in the Army, and I was surprised that he was not encouraged to have a healthcare proxy, HIPAA agreement, and durable power of attorney in place prior to beginning his service. (And, being the son of an Estate Planning Attorney, I think he would have noticed, and not just ignored this advice if it was offered).
Healthcare proxy -- if your child is over 18 and is unable to make medical decisions, the HCP tells who will make decisions for that person.
HIPAA -- this is a waiver of confidentiality which allows medical personnel to speak with you about medical conditions, to obtain medical records, etc. Without a HIPAA release, doctors and medical providers may not be able to share information about your child's medical conditions.
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) -- this allows you to sign legal or financial documents for your child. This may be important if your child is deployed and does not have access to phones or email on a regular basis, and can just simplify everything from banking to purchasing car insurance.
I've been surprised by how difficult it can be for my son to access services that I consider to be pretty convenient, and these tools allow me to help him when necessary. Serving in the military has unexpected challenges for our service personnel as well as for their parents. As we thank them for their service, let's also take a moment to help with some of the practical details of life.