I’m sure you’ve heard this saying once before in your life! She would always ask, “What if you’re in an accident and you need assistance? What will the paramedics or life savers say if they go to help you and you have dirty underwear?!” I never understood because if I was in an accident, well I’m sure they wouldn’t be concerned with what my underpants look like. (That’s for another blog!)
My reason for bringing this up is this: what happens if you are in an accident? If you’re incapacitated? What happens to your kids?!
Imagine being out on a date with your significant other. Your children (ages 7 and 4) are home with a sitter. You leave the emergency contact for the sitter- should anything happen she is to call you or your spouse, call grandparents, or call 911 if its an emergency.
On your way home from dinner, both you and your spouse are in a horrible car accident. Your spouse doesn’t survive and you’re in a coma. What happens now?
Its time for the babysitter to go home. No one can get a hold of you. The sitter calls the grandparents but they just so happen to be out of town tonight. She tries to reach the neighbor but no ones there. She waits, and waits, and waits.
She gets worried and calls 911. The police arrive and they contact local hospitals only to find out about what happened. Again, what happens now??
The police call Child Protective Services to come get the kids. The babysitter offers to stay with them, but the police state that she doesn’t have the authority to care for them. Your children go with the stranger from CPS. They are frightened and scared.
Now they wait until someone comes to get them- this could take a long time as there is a process to have a guardian appointed.
This is what happens if you don’t have a will. This is what happens if you’re not wearing clean underwear.
What would happen if you had a will and had appointed a guardian? If you had prepared for the “What Ifs?”
The babysitter would have had a copy of that will with the emergency information you gave her. The will would state that your neighbors, whose children are the same age as yours and whom your children know and care for, are your children’s guardians should anything happens to you or your spouse. It would have their contact information. The police would have called them and explained what happened. Your children would have gone with your neighbors- to a safe place with people they know and with people who care about them.
I can’t explain how important it is to have a will and appoint a guardian. Even if you feel like you don’t own a lot of assets or have any property, your biggest asset is your children! If you do only the bare minimum, throw on clean underwear and create a will appointing a guardian for your minor children.
If you want assistance creating a will or working with our Redwood City estate planning attorney to create a Child Protection Plan, send us a note or browse our blog some more, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
And if you shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be happy to send you our FREE “Top 10 Points to Selecting a Guardian.” (Don’t worry we won’t sell or give out your information. Promise.)