Protecting Minor Children in Minnesota
Do You Know What Would Happen to Your Kids if Something Happened to You?
Without short-term guardians, in the event something happened to you, your children could be taken into the arms of a stranger until a judge could determine what to do with your children. This could happen even if you've worked with an attorney to name guardians for your children.
At the Roulet Law Firm, one of our goals is to make families aware of the importance of planning for the care of minor children.
Protecting Minor Children
Most law firms recommend that parents name long-term guardians for their minor children. At Roulet Law Firm, we go one step beyond that and recommend that parents name both long-term and short-term guardians for their minor children. A traditional estate plan that merely names permanent guardians for minor children does not protect them from a temporary stay with Child Protective Services in case something happens to you and the authorities have to be called. Nor do these kinds of plans protect your children from a custody battle if someone you wouldn’t want to raise your children challenges the guardians you have designated.
Our plan, meanwhile, provides for nominated guardians to provide permanent care for your children if you're no longer able to do so. It also introduces "first responders" to the process and utilizes them to the fullest extent. These are people who can quickly take custody of your children and care for them until permanent guardians arrive.
Even if you have a valid, binding will or a trust in place, your minor children are not completely protected unless your family has short-term guardians in place. If you are a parent of small children, we recommend that you consider this.
Your Family Protection Concerns
You should have a simply stated, concise yet precise contingency plan for your babysitter or child care professional to use in the event something happens to you. Those closer to you, such as certain family members and friends, should be designated and assigned legal written authority to oversee your children's short-term immediate care.
You should prepare written instructions for those who have been named "first responders," so they can instantly attend to your young ones' needs, especially when it comes to medical needs. Your plan should also strictly insist that only the people you've mentioned should be allowed to care for the children, in a manner approved by you.
Finally, you should draw up a document that prevents specific people from challenging your choice of guardian. This document would be kept private and would only be accessed in the case of an actual challenge attempt. A separate written plan can protect physical and financial assets and property left to the children, in case of a protracted, expensive legal battle over those items and funds.