Recently I had the pleasure of babysitting my baby nephew so my brother and his partner could go to a comedy act in Ottawa.

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”? Make an appointment today to get these important affairs in order.

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Michele R.J. Allinotte is the owner of Allinotte Law Office Professional Corporation in Cornwall, Ontario and she helps her clients make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses. Her practice focuses on the areas of business law, estate planning and real estate. Visit www.YourCornwallLawyer.com to get her FREE Peace of Mind Personal Inventory to make sure that your family has all the information they need.