Child Protection Plan
Your children are your greatest treasure. Think of all the precautions you have taken to safeguard your children — from the purchase of an infant car seat to swimming lessons and even driver’s safety courses. Yet, most parents leave their children completely unprotected from one of life’s most crushing blows — being orphaned upon the loss of their parents.
Are you and your children prepared? Who would you legally appoint to serve as their back-up parents to fulfill your parental responsibilities?
A Child Protection Plan is a set of instructions and legal documents, which you need if you have minor children. If you are in an accident or you become incapacitated, your Child Protection Plan will make sure your children are not taken into the custody of Child Protective Services until the State appoints a guardian to care for your minor children.
A True Story
The facts below were taken from public court documents. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the family.
July 2007, the Smith family was in a car accident. Janice and Tom, the parents of three children, ages 4, 7 and 10, died.
Janice and Tom had nothing in place to name guardians for their children or to take care of their assets.
After the accident, the children were in the foster care system for a short time until family members could be located.
Then the court battles began. After tens of thousands of dollars were spent and many tears shed, a court ordered mediation and the family agreed that the children’s money will be managed by a financial guardian who charges $100/hour, and a lawyer was appointed on behalf of the children at a cost of thousands of dollars.
Whatever is left will be distributed to the children when they turn 18, even if they do not have the financial insight and good judgment to handle the money.
Is that what Janice and Tom would have wanted? No one will ever know if the Judge made the right choice because Tom’s and Janice’s wishes were never known.
How to avoid Janice’s and Tom’s situation
A Child Protection Plan can prevent this from happening by allowing you to choose guardians to provide temporary and/or permanent care for your children and by providing instructions to your caregivers and guardians so they will always know what to do if something happens.
A Child Protection Plan provides:
• Legal documents to name short-term/temporary guardians who live nearby and who can be there quickly for your children.
• Letters to your short-term/temporary guardians notifying them that they have been selected as a guardian and letting them know what to do if anything happens.
• Legal documents to name long-term guardians who will raise your children.
• Letters to your long-term guardians notifying them that they have been selected as a guardian and letting them know what to do if anything happens.
• Instructions for people who take care of your children so they will always know what to do if anything happens to you.
• Guidelines for your long-term guardians stating how you want your children to be raised.
• Medical powers of attorney for your minor children so when they travel without you or you travel without them, they will get the medical care they need.
• Guardianship coordination among your various documents and emergency contact forms.
• An ID card for your wallet stating that you have minor children at home and stating who should be contacted if anything happens to you.
Many parents think naming guardians in their Will is sufficient protection for their minor children. However, a guardian named in your Will only takes effect after you die. In addition, it is likely that the parents made one or more common mistakes when naming guardians for their minor children.
If you have minor children and you want to ensure they are fully protected,call and ask about our Child Protection Plan.