The sun is shining, it has finally warmed up, and school is almost out. That means it is time for summer activities for the kids. Whether you have your kids headed off to a YMCA summer camp, soccer, tennis, or swimming, it means filling out new emergency contact information for all of your kids’ activities. However, this may give you a false sense of security.
In the event of an emergency, the contact list you provide to the camp counselor or tennis coach lets them know who to contact in the event something happens to your kids. However, what happens in the event something were to happen to you? Then what?
In the event something were to happen and no one showed up to pick up the kids at camp, the camp would want to call the emergency contacts you listed. However, many camps would likely not release the children into their custody – they would instead likely call the police, and there is a chance your kids could be taken into child protective services, foster care, until you could tell authorities where you wanted your kids to go or, in the event you were unable to communicate your wishes, until a judge could sort it out. It is possible that this could happen even if you have already named long-term guardians in your will or other estate planning documents.
And, when it comes to determining who would be best to care for your children, a judge may use criteria you would not, and could place the children in the care of someone you would never choose. It is also possible that family may fight over who should be the emergency guardian and the long-term guardian if you do not have either in writing. That is because the appointment of a long-term guardian requires court action and your children would still need to be in the care of someone until the court had decided.
However, you can take steps to make sure that in the event anything were to ever happen to you, your kids would never be taken into the arms of strangers, but would be taken care of by those that they know love and trust. By naming emergency first responders in writing, and providing copies of your nomination to whom you appoint, and leaving their contact information with the beaming new camp counselor or summer soccer coach, you gain the peace of mind of knowing your children will be protected and taken care of in the event of an emergency. Now if you could only do something about sunburn, skinned-knees and mosquitoes.
For part one of our summer camp guide for parents, click here.
If you would like help naming emergency first responders for your kids to make sure they would be cared for by those they know, love and trust in an emergency, call Maple Grove, MN will, trust, and estate planning lawyer Chuck Roulet at (763) 420-5087.