By Charlotte Estate Planning Lawyer Sabrina Winters
If something were to happen to you and your spouse, what would happen if the authorities or medical personnel did not know that you have minor children at home waiting for you? Picture this: your children are at home and more frightened as each hour passes and you have not returned. The babysitter is scrambling to locate you.
Now imagine social services removing your children from your home because they cannot find the legal documentation that says who can keep your children in the case of emergencies like this.
It is a scary thought, but as a Charlotte estate planning lawyer, I know that far too many parents with minor children are not prepared for these types of situations.
For parents with minor children, there are three easy steps you can take to protect your children if something happens to you.
document your choice of guardians The
first step is to select the people you want to name as guardians. If the person
you select lives far away or travels a lot, you may want to name a short-term
guardian to watch your children until the long-term guardian arrives. Without
proper documentation, the authorities may have no choice but to place your children
temporarily in the care of social services until a judge decides where they
- Carry a
Guardianship Card in Your Wallet This
is often an overlooked, but really easy step to follow. Essentially, all you
have to do is create a card that you keep in your wallet or purse that lets
police or medical personnel know that you have minor children at home. It
should include your address, home and cell phone numbers, and any additional
information needed to contact your children. This card should also include your
guardianship instructions so the authorities know what to do.
- Leave detailed instructions with schools, babysitters, and neighbors Once you name a guardian for your children, it is important to leave this information with your child’s school, babysitter, a trusted family member, or even a neighbor. That way, if the police show up at your door, someone will have legal proof as to where your children should be taken in an emergency.
If you have not yet documented your choice of legal guardian(s) and don’t know how to start, we invite you to call Sabrina Winters, Attorney at Law, at (704) 843-1446 to schedule a consultation. We will help you explore your options and legally document your wishes to ensure that your children are protected should something unexpectedly happen to you and your spouse.