January 31, 2022

As we head into the third year of the pandemic, we are coming to terms with just how fragile our lives and health really are. If you haven’t gotten sick yourself, it’s almost certain you know someone who has, and many of us even know of one or more individuals who have died in the past two years. 

Although serious illness and death are something we are always at risk for—and should plan for—the pandemic has forced many of us to face our own mortality like no other event in recent memory. Some of those worst-case scenarios we thought would never happen now seem much more likely, and for some people, those unthinkable situations have even become reality.

Understanding The Risks

Yet even if you manage to avoid becoming sick right now, the fact remains that we are all vulnerable to serious illness or injury, regardless of how young or healthy you are. And if you are a parent, one of the most frightening aspects of that reality is knowing that should something happen to you, your children would be left without you to care for them, whether only for a temporary period or permanently.

With this in mind, consider the following scenario: You and your spouse are out to dinner, and your kids are at home with the babysitter. On your way home, you get into a car accident. When you fail to make it home on time, the babysitter calls you repeatedly, but when no one answers, she calls the police.

The police arrive and find your kids with the babysitter, but the babysitter can’t stay with the kids for long and doesn’t know what to do at this point. The police have no choice but to call on Child Protective Services (or the equivalent). These authorities will take your children into custody until they can locate and/or appoint the proper guardian.

What’s more, your kids are still at risk of being taken by the authorities even if you’ve named legal guardians for them in your will. That’s because your will only becomes operative in the event of your death, so if you are incapacitated by an accident or illness, your will would be ineffective.

Or perhaps the guardians you named in your will live far from your home, so it would take them several days to get there. 

And does anyone even know where you will is located and how to access it? 

Most Guardianships Are Lacking
These are just a few of the many scenarios that can cause your children to be potentially taken into custody by strangers or placed with a family member you would never want caring for them. And sadly, we see this happen even to those parents who’ve worked with lawyers to name legal guardians for their children in their will.

So, how can we help? As a Personal Family Lawyer® firm, we can create a Kids Protection Plan. The Kids Protection Plan® includes all of the following:

  • Letters to the people you want to care for your children in the event of an emergency or long-term guardianship, so the people you have named will know just what to do if called upon.
  • Instructions to everyone who takes care of your kids as to exactly what to do if you are in an accident, so there’s never any question about what to do or who to call.
  • Legal documents to name long-term guardians, who will raise your children just as you would, so there is no family feuding over your children.
  • Instructions and guidelines for your long-term guardians on how you want your kids to be raised to ensure your kids are raised with your values, insights, stories, and experience.
  • A custom, personalized I.D. card for your wallet stating that you have minor children at home and who should be contacted if you are in an accident.

Here’s How To Get Started

Schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with us, your neighborhood Personal Family Lawyer®. We can assist you with putting a Kids Protection Plan® in place, and determine if there is anything else your family might need to ensure the well-being and care of your children no matter what happens.

If you have already named long-term guardians in your will, either on your own or with a lawyer, we can review your existing legal documents to see whether you have made any of the five common mistakes that could leave your kids at risk, and then revise your plan to ensure your children are fully protected.

A Learning Experience
Although the pandemic is likely to go down as one of the most tragic periods of our lifetime, if it motivates more people to get serious about estate planning, it may end up having some lasting positive effects. On that note, if you are a parent of minor children and want to ensure that your kids will always be taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens to you, meet with us, your Personal Family Lawyer® to put the Kids Protection Plan® in place today.

This article is a service of John Massih, Personal Family Lawyer®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.