Why is serving families with young children a highly specialized area of law?
Because traditional estate planning is designed to serve older persons preparing for the inevitable. It does not take into consideration minor children’s needs beyond receiving life insurance proceeds and whatever other assets parents may leave to them.
I should find and frame the photograph from about 3 years ago of my husband and 2 year old son on my husband’s new motorcycle for the first time. Frankly the sheer fear of riding on that (beautiful, I must admit) machine, holding on to my husband for dear life, is what got me thinking about “what if we do not come back?”
I went though specialized training to serve families with young children and was horrified as a mother (who is a lawyer!) to learn that should my husband and I not come home from a dinner date one day, despite having amazing friends in Florida, my children would end up in foster care until one of our relatives could fly in from out of state to take custody. This blew my mind! Until I went to the Delray Beach police department and spoke to an officer, I honestly thought that telling parents their children would end up in DCF custody was a marketing gimmick to scare those parents into paying for an estate plan.
Besides addressing long term personal and financial care of minor children, every family should have a legally sufficient emergency plan in place just in case. I do not have the statistics on how many young children lose both parents in the state of Florida every year, but it is certainly statistically less probable than both parents being alive and well on their child’s 18th birthday. I do however know that in the (however unlikely) chance my husband and I are not there for our children, they are as safe, as reassured, as cared for and as comforted as I can possibly make them, that they are not in care of strangers even for a minute, and that WE get to decide who the best people are to raise them, if not us, and that our children are raised with OUR values as a guiding principle because we took the time to document our choices in a way that is legally sufficient.
If you find the thought of not being there for your child horrifying, you are in good company with just about every other parent out there. How much more horrifying it is for a young child to be left without parents? I imagine more so. You are the only one that can protect them. It is your duty to protect them and that duty is yours whether you are living or not.
Young families are some of my favorite clients. Click HERE to schedule a 15 minute telephone call with me to be on your way to giving yourself the peace of mind you deserve because of how much you love them. I will give you some “homework” and we will schedule a time to meet for a planning session that will change how you see things.