Building loyalty with clients can be a challenge for financial advisors.

One way to do that is to help clients protect their adult children and themselves as the kids head off the college, says Amy Florian, CEO of Corgenius, a consulting firm for financial advisors and other businesses based in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Parents often do not realize the ramifications when their children turn 18. But they are then legally adults and there are important things to take into consideration, especially if those kids head off to college, she says.

“If something happens to a son or daughter, who then ends up in the hospital, unable to communicate, parents will not be given medical or treatment information without preparation beforehand,” says Florian. This is because medical professionals cannot give out information to any, including parents, unless a patient has given express permission. Parents also do not automatically have the right to make medical decisions for adult children who are unable to make decisions for themselves either temporarily or permanently.  

“To ensure a parent can obtain medical information, a HIPAA form has to be signed ahead of time,” says Florian. “And there should be a power of attorney for healthcare in place that names the parents as healthcare proxies,so the parents have the right to make treatment decisions for children who cannot make those decisions for themselves.

“I tell advisors they need to know when their clients’ children turn 18. Then ensure the now-adult child completes a powr of attorney form namiing the parents as proxies. When they go to college they need to fill out a HIPAA form at the student health center and the local hospital, listing their parents and perhaps other famiily members so they can have access to medical information in an emergency,” Florian adds.

An advisor who takes this action will build loyalty with the clients. It also creates an opportunity to engage the next generation, she says.

“You are providing a real service for the clients and they will be grateful for the help,” Florian says. “If you do a really good job, you will not have to ask for referrals. The clients will make the referrals for you automatically.”