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While serious illness and death are something we are always at risk for – and we should plan for it – 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 Risks

While you can now prevent you from becoming sick, the fact remains that we are all vulnerable to serious illness or injury, no matter how young or healthy you are. And if you are a parent, one of the most frightening aspects of this fact is the knowledge that if something happens, you will leave your children without your care, either temporarily 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. You have a car accident on the way home. If you don’t get home in time, the babysitter will call you several times, but if no one answers, she will call the police.

The police arrive and find your kids with the babysitter, who offers to stay with the children until a relative can be found to take them. But because the nanny doesn’t have the legal authority to care for the children—even temporarily—the police have no choice but to call Child Protective Services. These authorities will take your children into custody until they can locate and/or appoint the proper guardian. Even if you have friends or family living nearby who are willing to take care of the children.

If you haven’t left proper legal documentation, the authorities have no option but to call Child Protective Services. You need to give the authorities a legal basis to keep your children with friends or family that you designate. 

What’s more, your children are still at risk of being picked up by the authorities, even if you’ve named legal guardians for them in your will. This is because your will only becomes operative in the event of your death, so if you are incapacitated by an accident or illness, your will is not effective.

Or maybe the guardians you named in your will live far from your home, so it will take a few days to get there. If you haven’t made legally-binding arrangements for the immediate care of your children, it’s highly likely that they will be placed with Child Protective Services until those guardians arrive.

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 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, because most lawyers simply don’t know what’s necessary for planning and ensuring the well-being and care of minor children.

However, as a Personal Family Law firm, we are trained by the author of the best-selling book Wear Clean Underwear !: A Fast, Fun, Friendly and Essential Guide to Legal Planning for Busy Parents, on legal planning for the unique needs of families with minor children. As a result of this training, we offer a comprehensive system known as the Kids Protection Plan®, which is included with every estate plan we prepare for families with young children.

Developed by a nationally recognized attorney, who is a mom herself, the Kids Protection Plan® provides parents of minor children with a wide array of legal planning tools to make sure there is never a question about who will take care of their kids if they are in an accident or suffer some other life-threatening incident.

The full Kids Protection Plan® includes all of the following:

  • Legal documents to name short-term guardians, who can be there immediately for your children, so they will never be taken into the arms of strangers or anyone you wouldn’t want. Not even for a moment.
  • Letters to the people you name as short-term guardians, 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.
  • Letters to your long-term guardians, letting them know exactly what to do if called upon.
  • 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.
  • Medical powers of attorney for your minor children, so the next time they travel without you or you travel without them, you know they will get the medical care they need.
  • 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.

Get Started Protecting Your Children

While you should meet with us to put the full Kids Protection Plan® in place as soon as possible, protecting your children is such a critical and urgent issue, we’ve created a totally free website, where you can visit to get your plan started right now.

⇒ If you’ve yet to take any action at all, visit this easy-to-use and 100% FREE website, where you can take the first steps to create legal documents naming long-term guardians for your children to ensure that should anything happen to you prior to creating your formal estate plan, your kids would be cared for by the people you would want in exactly the way you would want. Get started here now.

After you’ve completed those initial actions, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with us, your neighborhood Personal Family Lawyer®, where we will put the full 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 six common mistakes that could leave your kids at risk, and then revise your plan to ensure your children are fully protected.

The Kids Protection Plan: 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.