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WHAT IS A CHILD SAFEGUARD PLAN?

by  BENNIE A. WALL, ESQ.


Safeguard
A Child Safeguard Plan is a planning tool specifically designed to ensure that your children are well cared for when you no longer can.

How does a Child Safeguard Plan Work?

The Child Safeguard Plan consist of a series of legal, informative, and educational documents designed to assure that whoever you choose to care for your minor children during your incapacity or after your death will effortlessly assume the role of caregiver. These documents will be placed in a portfolio where the person you have appointed as your child’s guardian can easily access the documents that empower, instruct, and inform them as to what you know to be the best care for your children.

When would I need a Child Safeguard Plan?

In an ideal world, you would never need such a plan. Unfortunately, we live in reality. You should have this plan in place if you have a minor child, regardless of his or her age. This plan is designed with the worst case scenarios in mind to ensure that if the time ever came, your child’s fate would not be in the hands of the government.

How would a Child Safeguard Plan Protect my Children?

A Child Safeguard Plan is designed to ensure that someone you trust is empowered to take care of your children when you no longer can. For example, if you and your husband are in a car accident and both are unconscious in the hospital. Who will take care of the children while you recover? How will they fund your children’s needs? Will government institutions, schools, or doctors allow this person to make important decisions regarding your child?

A well drafted child safeguard plan would ensure that a person you trust can take custody of your children, rather than social services or a random relative. This plan allows this person to make any decisions that you could make on behalf of your children including:

  1. Enrollment in school or school related activities;
  2. Treatment by a physician; and
  3. Enrollment for government assistance.

I already have an estate plan. Do I need a Child Safeguard Plan too?

It depends. What kind of estate plan do you have?

A Will. If you have a will based estate plan, then you likely nominated a guardian for your minor children in your last will and testament. However, this document is only effective  upon your death, so what will happen to your children upon your incapacity? If your attorney prepared additional documents to include with your will (referred to as ancillary documents), then you may have chosen someone to handle your financial affairs upon your incapacity and someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you no longer can. If your attorney did not prepare these documents, then you will want to have them drafted by experienced estate planner as soon as possible. Even with all these documents the issue of who will care for your child during your incapacity is not addressed. A well drafted Child Safeguard Plan can ensure that, when the time comes, your children are protected.

A Trust. If you have a trust based estate plan, then your children should be financially cared for both at your incapacity and upon your passing. However, the trust document will not and cannot address who you nominate to care for your child. While it is trust that the trustee can manage the assets for your child’s benefit, the question of who will raise and emotionally support your child and how to ensure that the court will consider your nomination of guardian is not addressed in this document.

In Summary…

Our Child Safeguard Plan is essential to ensure your children are fully protected should the unthinkable happen. Call us at 757-259-0707 or better yet, visit our website where you can quickly and easily schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our Child Safeguard Planners. Together, we can work to ensure you have the peace of mind that your minor children are protected during this most vulnerable stage of their lives. 

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.