Although having a will is extremely important to protect your children in case something should happen to you, this is only one element of a complete plan. Anything could happen to you or your spouse; many things can happen that would put your children in jeopardy.
You could have an auto accident while your spouse is out of town; you and your spouse could be in an accident at the same time, etc. Everyone wants to live to see their grandchildren grow up but tragedies do happen, and to protect your children you should be ready in the event that something does happen to your family.
Creating a safety plan for your children should include:
- A plan in case something happens to you or your spouse, while your children are in someone’s care.
- If you have already named a guardian for your children in your will, you will also want to name someone who can care for your children short term, in case the person named in your will is not immediately available. Be sure you have properly named this person with a signed and notarized document, and make sure that they have a copy.
- Provide both the named guardian and the backup guardian with instructions of what they should do if they are needed.
- Keep a card in your handbag or wallet with the names of these people on it and their phone numbers. You may also want to leave this information with whoever is tending your children, and instruct the sitter to call them if something should happen to you and you don’t return home.
A simple plan like this can save your children from going through a lot of unneeded anguish if they are placed in the custody of the state until your guardian can be reached. Though this plan is important, you will also want to ensure that you have provided protection for your children in your estate plan, with your will, as well as a trust that will provide for them financially if you are not around to care for them.
To provide the best protection for your children, it is essential that you contact an attorney whose practice focuses on estate planning for families to get advice on how to structure your estate plan for the benefit of your children.