As a parent, the last thing I want if something happens to me and my kids’ dad is for my children to be put into a situation in which they feel scared, are surrounded by people they don’t know, are possibly taken advantage of and don’t know just how much love I have for them. With these 7 Secrets you can guarantee your children will always have the security of knowing just how much you love them – even if you can’t tell them.
Secret #1: Put in Place a Clear Family Emergency Response Plan – What would happen if you died or became incapacitated while your children were in someone else’s care? Either the police would show up at your house or someone from your house would call the police, right? Unfortunately, if your children are in the care of a person without documented legal authority to be with them, the police would have no choice but to call in Child Protective Services. That’s right; your children could be taken into foster care until one of two things happened: 1) someone with clear legal authority arrives to take custody of your children; or 2) the courts determined who would have clear legal authority through your State’s process for appointing guardians. With a Family Emergency Response Plan in place that names First Responders and gives clear direction, your children never have to be put in a fearful situation.
Secret #2: Give Clear Instructions to Your Children’s Caregivers – Give anyone who stays with your children, or your children themselves if they are old enough to be home alone, all the information they need to contact people who have documented legal authority to stay with your children in case of an emergency. Make sure to give your caregivers a list of at least two or three people.
Secret #3: Write Your Decisions Down – Parents regularly tell me that they have discussed and agreed upon a guardian for their children and have even made their wishes known to their families; however, talking about this with your friends and family is simply not enough and can lead to significant conflict and strife. And not documenting your decisions can result in your wishes not being followed when it is too late. If you do not communicate your wishes in a legally binding document, you are placing your children in the middle of a situation in which every family member has equal priority of guardianship and the State will ultimately decide who raises your children. Legal documentation is particularly important if you intend for a friend to care for your children as courts will almost always choose a family member over a friend.
Secret #4: Choose the Right Guardians – I’ve heard many parents say, “We have not made a plan because we can’t decide who should be guardian.” Regardless of whether you make a plan, the State has a plan for you and your children. In many cases, the State’s plan is not the plan you would choose. Don’t let your fear about making a decision turn into a decision that you don’t want. Make sure that the people who would raise your children have your values. For a proven method of choosing guardians for your children, download our free report How to Choose the Right Guardian at www.choosetherightguardian.com.
Secret #5: Protect Your Children From Being Raised By the One Person You Don’t Want – One of my biggest fears is if something happens to me, my children will end up in the care of someone I don’t want to raise them. I give considerable thought to the people who stay with my children when I leave the house for a couple of hours, as I am sure you do. And, there are certain people I wouldn’t want my children with – ever. You can have the peace of mind of knowing that your children will not spend any time in the hands of someone you wouldn’t want, by confidentially excluding them from guardianship of your children.
Secret #6: Tell the People You Designate as Guardians What Your Most Important Values Are – As a mom, I know that there are certain things that are critical to me when it comes to the way my children are raised, such as the spiritual foundation I want them to have, the sense of financial responsibility I want imparted to them, and the educational path I want them to take. In addition, I have certain books I think they must read for their future success. Just by way of the fact that you are reading this, I know that these (and other) issues are critical to you as well. The only way to ensure that your children will be raised with your values is to make them clear to the people you’ve named as Guardians if they are ever called on to serve.
Secret #7: Provide a Foundation for Your Children’s Financial Future- Whether it’s through life insurance, savings or some other means, providing sufficient financial resources for your children’s care is your responsibility. And, as a responsible parent, you must take steps to protect what your children will receive. You will want to establish a trust to receive any life insurance benefits that your children would receive so that they don’t get access to your assets at the age of 18 and to hold title to any assets that would go through probate in the event of your death. And, if your estate is large enough, you will want to plan to avoid estate taxes as well. Responsible parents consult a personal family lawyer and a financial advisor who is an expert at planning to protect the future of their children and their assets.
About the Author:
Alexis Martin Neely is the nation’s leading legal expert teaching parents about how to protect their children and their assets. For more information about ensuring the security of your children and your assets and giving your children the tools for success, sign up for your FREE e-zine subscription at www.familywealthmatters.com.