Legal Checklist Before Leaving Your Child In Someone Else’s Care

By Daniel A. Perry, Esq.

Parents with young children have a host of responsibilities:

• Career
• Family
• Getting children to and from school and other activities
• Making sure meals are cooked
• Saving for college education
• Saving for retirement
• Making sure the children grow up with values that are important to you

Let’s face it — being a working parent is a full-time job and then some!

However, with all the hustle and bustle of life as a working parent there’s one item that is routinely left off the list of responsibilities. This task is to complete your legal checklist before leaving your children in someone else’s care.

It is important to schedule alone time with your spouse. Whether it is a date night, a weekend getaway, or even an afternoon away, parents are always faced with the issue of arranging childcare.

However, the failure to complete a legal checklist before leaving your children in someone else’s care can lead to disastrous consequences for your family.

Once such story involves a parent who passed away while her husband was out of the country on a business trip. Unfortunately, the sitter who was watching their two children did not have the necessary legal documents to retain guardianship. This resulted in the children being temporarily admitted into the foster care system until the father was able to return home from his overseas business trip.

However, this is not the worst thing that can happen. When parents with young children unexpectedly pass away, a legal fight sometimes ensures to determine who will have physical legal and financial custody over the children and their assets until they reach the age of 18.

To avoid this, it is important to establish a legal plan to provide for your children in your absence. This includes an appointment of caregivers, ensuring that your children will continue to be raised with the values which are important to you.

As part of your legal checklist, it is imperative to complete the following legal documents for children:

• Legal Nomination of Temporary Guardians for your Children
• Legal Nomination of Permanent Guardians for your Children
• Will and Trust (to prevent your kids from receiving their entire inheritance immediately after they turn 18)
• Life Insurance Policies and Documents
• Beneficiary Forms for Life Insurance and Investment Accounts
• Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions
• Healthcare Power of Attorney
• Living Will and Advanced Healthcare Directives
• Financial Asset Spreadsheet

A completed legal checklist will provide the peace of mind that your children — and their future — will always be protected in the event you pass away.

If you have questions about establishing your estate plan and completing your legal check list, please contact our office at (513) 241-0400 or use our contact form to schedule a time to discuss your goals for your family. Our Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys look forward to speaking with you!