The baby that came with instructions

01/29/2010 by Michele R.J. Allinotte

A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of babysitting my little 5 1/2 month old nephew. My parents are away and my sister-in-law’s family does not live in the area, so I was on duty so my brother and his partner could go to a comedy act in Ottawa.

My kids and I were excited to have the chance to spend some time with him, but I was a bit late getting home due to a work issue. When I got home, my nephew had already been there with my husband for about 45 minutes. He was getting a bit fussy, so I scooped him up and tried to soothe him and I ultimately ended up putting him down for what I thought was a quick nap. I was wrong – he slept the entire night! There was no play time at all!

Because I had come home in such a rush, it wasn’t until after he was asleep that I saw the instructions. My sister-in-law is very organized, and had a full sheet of printed instructions about his routine, eating habits, how to change his diaper – it was all there. At the end of the instructions, she let me know where all their important documents were stored in their house, presumably if something were to happen to her and my brother. She wrote “you’ve prepared me well!”.

But there was just one problem. I had no legal authority to keep and care for my nephew in the event that my brother and his partner didn’t come home from the comedy show. If that little guy’s parents had never showed up, I would have had to call the police. Without any documentation appointing me as his guardian, I would not have the legal authority to take care of him until his custody had been decided. There is a very real possibility that he would have to be placed in foster care, even if only temporarily. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a child I love to spend one minute in foster care when he could be with people who love him.

Unless they have seen another lawyer recently, I know my brother and his partner don’t have an up to date estate plan to deal with their blended family situation. I think my brother might have a will, but I’m pretty sure what is in there no longer applies. I don’t know if my sister-in-law has a will. Yes, just like the cobbler’s children have no shoes, my family members do not have their estate planning documents in order.

I asked my sister-in-law for her permission to write this blog about her. She will read this, so I know she will be taking steps in the very near future to make sure that her family is protected by updating her estate plan and doing a Kid’s Protection Plan to appoint long term and short term guardians.

Do you know what would happen to your children if you and your spouse or partner didn’t come home from “date night”? If you are like my sister-in-law and haven’t appointed long term and short term guardians for your children, call my Client Services Director, Erin McEvoy at 613-933-7720 or click here to set up an appointment for a Family Wealth Planning Session with me.

As a special advance bonus to my blog readers, if you are a parent who owns a home in the Cornwall area and you make an appointment for a Family Wealth Planning Session between now and the end of February, I will give you a $75.00 gift certificate to a local restaurant of your choice. But you have to mention this blog post to get the gift certificate!

I only have a limited amount of spots available and I will soon be opening up this offer to the general public. Once my appointments are all filled, the gift certificate offer will end, so act now to secure your appointment (and your gift certificate!).

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