When it comes to caring for your child, we know ensuring your child’s needs are met is your highest priority. Sometimes, however, unexpected circumstances may arise that make this care an uphill battle. We know as parents ourselves that often these challenges come when we least expect them.
As parents, we need to be as prepared as we can be at all times. When you start to think about the planning you need for your child, think about your “village”. This term is at times overused in the media but it refers to all those involved with you and your family in the community.
Although your first thoughts may be of who you interact with, remember that your child has interactions with many different people on a daily basis. This can include the nuclear family but also extend to teachers, coaches, and after school care providers. Despite your child’s strong relationship, however, you as the parent, may not have a strong relationship with each of these key players in your child’s life. This is why we want to share with you reasons why it is important that you know who the people are in your and your child’s “village”.
Imagine being a single parent, or that your partner is unavailable. An emergency situation arises where you cannot care for your child. You do not know who to turn to for support or assistance. If you have a community of people to contact and fully prepared estate planning documents when you need some extra help and support, there is no need to worry.
Through your estate plan, the legal specifics have already been allocated. This can include who has the authority to care for you in the event of your incapacity, as well as, a last will and testament with testamentary trust provisions or a trust agreement, where a trustee is named who has specific authority to act for your child. What is even more important is that you have a relationship with your estate planning attorney. Together, you have identified what you need for your child, your goals, and what you ultimately want for him or her in a crisis. In a crisis, your attorney can be your biggest advocate.
In addition to your attorney, when you establish a good relationship with your child’s teacher, you can rely on him or her to notify you of any issues your child may be having at school. Being able to lean on this support structure, plus close friends and family members, is also crucial for both you and your child. Having the capability to pick up the phone and ask your family members to help you when you need it most is a valuable resource. If you do not, however, have trusted friends, family members, or advisors to lean on, or a comprehensive legal plan in place, you may find yourself in a difficult position that you are not prepared to handle.
Keep in mind, most legal documents are too complicated and important to create without the guidance of an estate planning attorney. He or she can provide advice on who the best people are to delegate legal authority to, present all of the available planning options to you, ensure each of your legal documents are executed in accordance with state law to ensure you, and most importantly, ensure that your child will be taken care of in the event of your incapacity.
We want you to know that we are here to answer questions and support you. Do not wait to get the information you and your family need!
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community about trust and estate planning, veterans issues, and how to protect what matters most.