Naming Guardians for Minor Children

Naming guardians for your young children is one of the most important “what if…” decisions you will make as a parent.  What if…

…you and your spouse don’t make it home from date night?
…you are overcome by a sudden illness?
…for, whatever reason, you can’t be there for your kids?

It’s not enough to just think about who you want to take care of your children if you’re not able to.  You need to put those wishes in writing—so that police, first responders, the court, and your family know about them.

Otherwise, you could be leaving the future of your children up to the whims of a judge who has never met you and has no idea what you want.  That could mean a stay in foster care and, ultimately, the wrong person raising your children.

Every parent should have a Family Action Plan, to put their desires front and center—right where they should be.  There are three essential parts to your Family Action Plan.

First, name emergency guardians.  You may need someone to pick up your children on very short notice.  Without formally named guardians, police may have no other choice but to take your children to foster care.  A Family Action Plan gives police and first responders a better option by giving someone the legal right to care for your children in an emergency.

Second, name permanent guardians.  The closest choice for guardians may not be your first choice.  Has your neighbor agreed to take in your children for a few days if something happens, but you want your children to stay with your sister who lives far across the state?  You can do that.  The permanent guardians are your choice for who you want to raise your children.

Third, get the word out.  Naming guardians won’t do any good if you keep them secret, or at least not readily available.  Telling your family and friends about your chosen guardians can help cut down on arguments and ease the transition for your children.  You also need to make sure police and first responders find out about your emergency guardians, so your children won’t be taken to foster care.

We make creating a Family Action Plan quick and easy.  And we give you the tools to make your plan available to the right people when it’s needed most.