Guard(ian) Your Blindside

As a parent, you do dozens of things daily to ensure your child’s well-being and personal growth.

Think of your instructions for a babysitter to ensure fun, consistency and safety. While out for a date night with your spouse, what if something happened where neither of you were able to come home… ever.

What now?

Who ensures your child’s continued growth, brings stability and teaching moments? Not insurance proceeds. Yet for many parents, a beneficiary review of work benefits and IRAs is the extent of planning for a blindside moment to their kids.

Naming guardians for your children. Without legal documentation and designation, the courts determine who will raise your kids and have little influence on how. Fortunately with proper planning, you can control “who” and enforce “how”. Still, when your wishes are considered with extended family dynamics, it may seem daunting and best to wait. 

To help get started, I asked attorney David Feakes of Acton, who 20 years ago founded The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC, to share 3 key considerations. Working primarily with families who have young children, they’ve thought through all scenarios. 

 Short-term and long-term guardians. “Focus beyond those who would love and raise your kids if you weren’t there to raise them yourself; also consider short-term guardians who can be with your kids during a crisis until your long-term guardians can arrive”, says David. Short-term guardians can prevent your children being taken into the care of strangers in an emergency.

Who is excluded. “In our office, we create an Exclusion of Guardian document, ensuring that a judge will take your wishes into strong consideration and not name unwanted individuals to care for your children”, says David.

Consider financial resources. “Your guardians do not have to, and often should not be financial decision-makers for your kids.” This brings added checks and balances. David adds, “You should provide enough financial resources for your kids, ensuring your guardians don’t inherit a financial burden.” 

To protect the people you love most, don’t wait to plan. After all, you wouldn’t schedule a babysitter the morning after your night out.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Glenn Brown is a Holliston resident and owner of PlanDynamic, LLC, Glenn is a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ helping motivated people take control of their planning and investing, so they can balance kids, aging parents and financial independence.

This article appeared in the May 2019 editions of Holliston Local Town Pages, Ashland Local Town Pages and Natick Local Town Pages.

Please call me at (508) 834-7733 or directly schedule a meeting to learn more about considerations for planning for your kids’ future, including college savings, admissions/aid strategies and estate planning.

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