My life over the past 18 years has been focused on protecting my three boys. My oldest never let his knees touch the ground. He crawled with his butt in the air and one day simply stood and walked, or shall I say ran. From that day on in 2001, I’ve been chasing him trying to head off disasters.
When our children are small, we move furniture, apply bumper guards and install child safety locks. As they grow, we strap on the shin guards and lather them in sunblock. We limit their screen time and try to impart our knowledge on them (and hope they listen). In the back of our minds, we wonder; “What would happen if I wasn’t here to protect them?” (I usually say this when my teens jump off the roof into the pool.) It’s tough to admit but all of the protection I’ve forced on my kids in the past would be useless if I were gone.
If something happened to me and my spouse, our children are in real danger of being separated. We have no family who we would choose to raise our boys. Even the family we have are 1000 miles away and would not be able to take on the responsibility of suddenly raising three teen boys. We do, however, have friends who have been very close to the boys as they’ve grown and who love them. We chose these friends as guardians because we know that they share our values and will ensure the boys are nurtured as we would nurture them.
If you are a family with minor children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of, no matter what happens. I’ve dedicated my law practice at Scarborough Law to developing expertise is planning for and protecting your children.
What Would Happen to Your Kids if the Unthinkable Happened to You?
Did you know that 69% of parents have not yet named guardians for their kids?
Of those who have, most have made one of 6 common mistakes most parents (and their lawyers!) make when naming guardians.
MISTAKE #1–Named a couple to act as guardians without indicating what should happen if the couple broke up or one of the partners in the couple died. Your kids could end up in the care of someone you wouldn’t really want.
MISTAKE #2– Only named one possible guardian. What if something happens to your first choice?
MISTAKE #3– Considered financial resources when deciding who should raise the children. Your guardians do not have to (and often should not) be financial decision makers for your kids.
MISTAKE #4– Only have a Will, which means the Court will distribute their money. This process is public and a will alone will not protect your money from your children’s divorces and lawsuits.
MISTAKE #5– Did not exclude anyone who might challenge their guardian decisions. Your children could end up with people you never wanted to care for your kids.
MISTAKE #6– Only named guardians for the long-term and did not make any arrangements for the short term if they were in an accident. What would happen in those immediate hours until your permanent guardians could arrive?
Without proper planning, if the unthinkable happens to you, here’s what could happen:
Your children could be placed with strangers even if you have a will in place; even if you have a living trust while your legal documents or located or your family is identified. Or worse, your kids could be left in the care of the one person in your family you would never want to raise them.
- A Judge who doesn’t know you, or your family, will decide who will raise your kids, even if it’s the last person you would ever want;
- Approximately 5% of the total value of your assets could be lost due to probate, a court process that can tie up your assets for months or years and deprive your kids of the resources they need to live comfortably;
- When your kids turn 18, they get a check for whatever assets are left – outright with no protection;
- There are unscrupulous people who make it their business to review public records to find out what 18-year-olds are coming into money;
- The vast majority of estate planning attorneys simply do not address these issues and do not plan from a parent’s perspective.
Protect your kids today
We have dedicated our life’s work to make sure these things don’t happen to your kids! That’s why we offer a Kids Protection Plan® with every estate plan we prepare for families with minor children at home.
As a service to Atlanta Area Mom’s Blog subscribers, Scarborough Law now offers a FREE resource to legally document who you want to care for your kids in the case of an emergency or sudden death. And, if you are not sure who to choose, we’ll guide you through the process on the website and even review the legal documents for you afterward, for free. To get started simply click HERE and take the first step to keep your children cared for in the way you want.
Scarborough Law Firm is located at 4080 McGinnis Ferry Road, Suite 204 in Alpharetta. You can also contact them by phone at 678-257-1808 or by email at [email protected].