When my son Bob was only 3 years old, I was out to dinner one night with my husband. That was in 2020. As we were eating, it occurred to me that my baby boy was home with a 16-year-old babysitter, While l had created an estate plan, I realized that if anything happened to us and we didn’t make it home, that plan wouldn’t work to keep my son out of the care of strangers.
Suppose the sitter called the police if we didn’t return on time. The police would have no choice but to take my baby into child protective custody until they could find my legal documents and figure out what to do. All of my family was in California and we were in Texas.
So for starters, until the authorities could locate my will or guardian nomination, they couldn’t leave my son with friends, neighbors, or a teenage babysitter. The child protective service has to take him into custody and put him in a foster family that we never met.
Common Mistake of Naming Guardian
I realized that most estate plans leave significant holes in the planning for minor children 1） by not planning for the short-term, 2） but not considering what to do if the people named as guardians leave far away, or 3）if a couple is named and they get divorced or one of the people in the couple cannot serve for some reason, what then?
Furthermore, 4）most estate plans don’t ensure that our children are never raised by someone we wouldn’t want. If we hadn’t named legal guardians, for instance, two people would petition the court to raise our kids: my mother and my mother-in-law. On paper, my mother-in-law might seek the better choice in the eyes of the court, but in reality, she is the last person I would want to raise my kids.
That’s why the child lifetime planning, which is a more comprehensive legal document in terms of naming the guardian, is mandatory to name a long-term and short-term guardian, name backup candidates, or even include a confidential document that excludes anyone we know we wouldn’t want raising our kids.
Our estate planning services are comprehensive and include child lifetime planning, which addresses the mistakes highlighted in the previous discussion. We are proud to be one of the few law firms that specialize in child lifetime planning.
Contact us today!