As parents, we know full well that kids DO NOT come with a Users Guide or Instruction Manual. Raising children is mostly on-the-job training. Everyone you are related to or meet will present themselves to you as THE EXPERT on how it should be done! Being taught to swim by being thrown in the water comes to mind as a good way to explain the experience. No matter how much you have been told about swimming, the first time you hit the water and find that you can’t touch the bottom it is a SHOCK!
We muddle through raising our kids, learning as we go, and trying to do the very best we can.
Unfortunately, since raising children is mostly dealing with crises as they happen, implementing the planning ahead that we know we ought to do sometimes gets left out. When you bring your baby home from the hospital, the day when he or she will go off to college seems so far away. And there are so many pressing demands for money every day. So many parents just never get around to building the fund they will need to pay for their child’s college. Thank heavens for student loans!
PLANNING FOR THE “WHAT IFS”
Another often-neglected area is planning for some of life’s “what ifs,” especially the ones that we don’t even like to think about. Like, “What would happen to your kids if you went out to a movie, leaving them with a high-school babysitter, and did not come home because you were in a serious accident?” More than 70% of parents never implement a plan for that “what if” even though if it happened the lack of a plan would have enormous, perhaps tragic consequences for their kids.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.
First, the police would come to your home, either after having been called by your sitter or having found you. Finding your children with the sitter, they would try to locate a family member to take them. If they can’t find a family member they would have no choice but to take your kids to Child Protective Services until someone could determine who they should be with. No parent wants this, even for just one night, but without a plan in place, that is what would happen to your kids!
Even if you always leave your kids with a family member, you still need to think about who you would want to raise them should the unthinkable happen. If you have not named permanent guardians in a will or trust, the Court will appoint guardians for your children. The Court will appoint whoever looks best to the Judge. And it could take months and cost a lot, especially if there is a fight between the families. Your preferences, being unknown to the Court, will not count, so the person who raises your kids could be someone you would not have chosen and would have been opposed to.
THEN THINGS GET WORSE!
All of your assets would have to be sold and the money would probably be put in the court’s custody, to be doled out for your kids’ care as the court sees fit. A detailed expense report would have to be filed every year and audited by the court. That would be a major drain on your assets, especially since there would be a different fund for each kid!
CAN THINGS GET ANY WORSE?
Yes! As each kid reaches age 18, whatever remains of his or her share will be delivered to your kid to do with as your kid sees fit. How prepared were you to handle a large sum of money when you were 18? If you were like us, the answer is, “Not at all!”
We can help! Kid’s Protection Planning™
Having a Will does not protect your kids if the unthinkable happens to you….
At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we are specially equipped to meet the unique planning needs of families with minor children, to make sure their kids are totally protected. Unlike traditional estate planning lawyers who focus their planning on the needs of elderly people, we are also attuned to the concerns of parents and counsel our clients on issues such as choosing a guardian, how to best provide for long term expenses, and those related to blended families. We are also one of a limited number of firms that offer the Kid’s Protection Plan™, which provides for the maximum protection of minor children.
WHAT IS A KIDS PROTECTION PLAN™?
A Kid’s Protection Plan™ is a set of instructions, legal documents and even an ID card for your wallet, which you need to have if you have kids at home who count on you for their well-being and care.
If you are in an accident, your Kids Protection Plan™ will make sure your children are never taken into the custody of Child Protective Services because the police don’t have clear instructions from you and that your children are raised by people you choose, not someone chosen by the State.
WHY DO I NEED ONE?
If you are a mom or dad with children at home under the age of 18, you need a Kids Protection Plan™ because if you don’t have one and you are in an accident, when the police show up at your house and find your kids home alone or with a babysitter, they have no choice but to call in Child Protective Services and have your kids removed from your home until they can figure out what to do. And, that’s just the short-term.
For their long-term care, your children would be at the mercy of an overcrowded state court system that could never determine what is in the best interest of your child as well as you can. A Court would make the decision about who should raise your kids. It’s very likely that a Court would not choose the same person or people you would choose.
If you need to get a plan, call our office at 508-994-5200 to set an appointment today.