Our young children are our lives and our greatest blessings. They mean everything to us and everything we do is with them in mind. They are our past and future put together, and they reflect all of our hopes and dreams combined. As parents of little ones ourselves, we know full well the deep love and fears that fill every parent’s minds and hearts.
If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of no matter what happens. At Bridge Law LLP, we take nothing for granted when we plan for the care and custody of your young children since it is your single most important responsibility. Unless you do it the right way, you will never have true peace of mind.
Kids’ Protection Planning Today
As parents as well as counselors to our clients, we decided long ago to take a comprehensive approach to plan around the most important questions and fears that parents often ask about:
- What if something happens to us?
- What will happen to our children?
- Who will take care of them?
- What must we do now to ensure that they will stay protected and cared for if something happens to us?
What Could Happen Without Proper Estate Planning
Your children could be taken by the Department of Children and Family Services, even if you have a will in place and even if you have a living trust.
A Judge who doesn’t know you, or your family, will decide who will raise your children, even if it’s the last person you would ever want.
Approximately 5%-15% of the total value of your assets will likely be lost due to probate, a court process that will tie up your assets for years and deprive your kids of the resources they need to live comfortably.
If any money still remains in your estate when your child turns 18 – once probate concludes – the judge will issue a check for whatever assets remain. No exceptions. For an 18-year old, this is a lottery ticket ready to be cashed.
There are unscrupulous people who make it their business to review public records to find out which 18-year olds are inheriting money. Because probate is a public process, personal information is readily available online, making your children easy targets.
The Drawbacks of Typical Estate Planning
When it comes to guardianship, most estate plans simply rely on a single paragraph in a will to address the issue. A will typically lists who the long-term guardians should be in the event of the death of both parents.
There are several problems with this approach, as it fails entirely to address the following issues:
- What if the parents become incapacitated?
- Who are the child’s short-term guardians?
- What happens if someone challenges the guardianship?
- What happens if the child is taken into foster care?
- What if no one can find your will before the police or DCFS arrive on the scene?
Don’t take a chance. As parents, it’s our job to place our children in the right hands should they not be our own.
A More Practical Approach to Child Protection
Our Kids’ Protection Plan is a comprehensive approach to ensuring that your children are raised by the people you want and how you want – at all times. We have filled in all the gaps to make sure that your children will always remain in the custody of loved ones that you choose. Our firm has taken a leading role in developing programs within the community to ensure this occurs. Our plan has been approved both by local schools and law enforcement agencies, and we’ve trained them on how to implement the following:
- Nomination of First Responders & Temporary Guardians
- Written Instructions to Caregivers/Babysitters
- Nomination of Long-Term Guardians
- Medical Powers of Attorney for Minor Children
- Kids’ Protection Plan Identification Cards
- Confidential Exclusion of Guardians
- Fiduciary Letters to Short & Long-Term Guardians
- Instructions to the Guardians
When it comes to our children, there should be no shortcuts. At Bridge Law, we make it our mission your family always stays protected. What you do today can ensure your children are taken care of tomorrow.