Does your estate plan name permanent guardians for your minor children? It absolutely must, and most plans do. But how about temporary guardians? And does your plan include medical powers of attorney for your kids? What about instructions and guidelines for your guardians (both permanent and temporary)? Do you carry a card in your wallet stating you have minor children and identifying your temporary guardians in case of emergency?
Naming and legally documenting temporary guardians will prevent your kids from ever being put into the arms of strangers, even for a moment. But without temporary guardians in place, there’s a very real possibility your kids could be handed over to foster care until a judge orders the children into the custody of the permanent guardians. Even if that’s only for a day or two, that’s far too long.
Without a medical power of attorney for your children they may not receive the medical care you would want them to have if you are not with them when they need it.
Providing instructions and guidelines to guardians is one of the best way to ensure your children will be raised with your values, learn about your story, benefit from your wisdom, and continue to feel your love even if you are not able to be physically present for them.
When you go to bed at night, do you lock the front door but leave the back door wide open? Your estate plan shouldn’t do that either, especially where your kids are concerned. Yet most estate plans simply slap in a quick paragraph about permanent guardians but fail to address the myriad of other issues those of us with young children need to be concerned about.
You see, traditional estate planning focuses on the elderly. And if you have a traditional estate plan, it is most likely n incomplete and less than comprehensive if you also have minor children at home. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Taking care of my kids the way they deserve to be taken care of is what got me into estate planning in the first place. And I love empowering other parents to take care of their kids, too. Let me know if you have any questions.