As a single mom, I plan very detailed lists for each of my kids’ daily activities: who is taking them to school, who is picking them up from practice, do they have snacks and water, have they packed all the appropriate clothes and shoes? I feel good that I have provided for their daily needs. I go about my business always assuming I will come home to them at the end of the day, help with homework, kiss them goodnight, and do it all again the next day.
But what if the unthinkable happened?
What if one day I didn’t come home? Have I done everything to ensure my kids are provided for? How can I ensure the right people—the people I choose—are raising my children and that my assets will be used properly for their care? Will my kids be raised knowing how much I loved them? Will they learn my core values and beliefs? Will they know me and remember my life experiences?
As a parent of minor children and an estate planning attorney, I am fortunate to have the knowledge and experience to put a plan in place that works for me and my family. Yet, most people do not know how to begin.
So what can be done, and when is the right time to put “a plan” in place?
First, begin the discussion with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Be sure you feel comfortable enough to share all your concerns in this meeting. For example, you will want to share concerns for special needs for your children, about possible caregivers, and your children’s social and educational development.
Second, put an action plan in place now. A comprehensive estate plan for families with minor children should include management of your assets, directives for healthcare decisions, a method for capturing your legacy, and a protection plan for your children with detailed information for caregivers, including caregiver consent for emergency treatment and short-term guardian designation.
Third, you will have peace of mind that your plan is a solid foundation for what you want to happen today. What’s more, you have the ability to change your plan as your life changes. We all know that life is fluid. Don’t let your children’s changing needs prevent you from putting a child protection plan in place today. A proper estate plan is a powerful tool that will assure your desires will be honored should the unthinkable happen.
So the next time you head out for date night and write detailed notes to the babysitter, ask yourself, “Is it finally time that I do more than make sticky notes around the house with my instructions about bedtime? Is it now time for me to ensure my desires for how and who will raise my kids in the event that I don’t come home?”
Allison Manning enjoys helping clients establish peace of mind in their estate plans and building relationships with her clients. If you would like to make an appointment to find out how we can help protect your family, call (520) 529-4000, or visit us online at www.KHarizona.com.