In addition to addressing inheritance issues, an estate plan can also be used to plan for the possibility of becoming incapacitated and to appoint a guardian for minor children. However, Pennsylvania parents may also want to think about making plans for the immediate aftermath of becoming incapacitated or death.

The person who is the guardian may live some distance away or may not be immediately reachable. Police or other emergency workers would most likely call Child Protective Services, and the child might be placed with strangers until family is notified and can get there. However, parents may want the child to go with neighbors or friends in such a situation until the guardian could get there.

One couple considered questions such as who a babysitter should call if the parents had an accident while they were out or simply did not come home. This couple worked with an attorney to put together a separate legal document that outlined what should happen to their children before legal guardianship is fully in place. In addition to placing this document with other estate planning documents, the parents also put it on the refrigerator. The hope with such a document is that the trauma children are experiencing will not be further exacerbated by unfamiliar people and uncertain arrangements.

As is the case with most aspects of estate planning, such a plan is best discussed ahead of time with all the people involved. This may include having age-appropriate conversations with children. Friends or neighbors who are selected to temporarily look after the children until their permanent guardians take over should agree with the arrangement, and the documentation should be easy to locate even in an emergency.

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