Each year I get to experience a new state with my wife for our anniversary. This being our 11th, we have visited every state that borders Idaho (we have even included a trip to Idaho in that number). This year, Arizona. What is the purpose of telling you this? We have kids and we aren’t taking them with us.
Despite my excitement about visiting a new state for our anniversary, and honestly getting some time away with just my wife, the parent and the estate planner portion of my brain goes into overdrive as the trip approaches. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I get a bit anxious travelling away from our kids, especially when both my wife and I are traveling together.
Yes, I know that the odds of being involved in a car accident are astronomically larger than being involved in a plane crash, but I still get nervous. We are taking the same flight. So, if something does happen, it will happen to both of us. And, as opposed to a car accident, the few times a plane does crash, the wreckage is much more devastating.
With flight plans out of the way (wife’s duties), I took some other steps to ensure that our kiddos will be protected our absence. If you plan to leave your children in the custody of a friend and family member this summer, doing the following things may give you some peace of mind too.
Appointment of Guardian in Case of Death or Incapacity
I have previously appointed a guardian for our sons in the case of my incapacity or death, but the original of the document is stored in my fireproof safe in my home, along with my other estate planning documents. In the state of Idaho, you MUST have a Last Will and Testament to appoint a guardian in case of death.
The guardian I selected knows where the documents are located, but she also lives in another city and the logistics accessing it in case of an emergency would be challenging. So, I made a copy of the appointment to give her, along with a reminder of where the original is located. That way, she’ll at least have a copy in case of an emergency until she can get to the original.
Designation of Power of Attorney for Care and Custody of Minor Child
It’s unpleasant to consider that our sons might require medical care while we are away, but the chance does exist. So, I prepared a Designation of Power of Attorney for Care and Custody of Minor Child giving his grandma, and alternatively my sister-in-law, permission to make any and all health care decisions related to the welfare of our sons at all times while they are in their care and custody.
If you will be leaving your children with a caregiver for a period of time, a Designation of Power of Attorney for Care and Custody of Minor Child for them will ensure that the caregiver has the authority to seek medical care for them if the need arises.
Document Listing Pertinent Information
You know your children’s doctors, dentist, orthodontist, and any medical regimen they are on, but a caregiver may not. So, it’s important to provide your caregiver this information, along with pertinent insurance information, so it is accessible if needed. Include things such as:
The name of your health insurance provider and member identification number
The name and phone number of your child’s physician
The name and number of your child’s dentist and/or orthodontist
Your name and address and a phone number where you can be reached
Any medication your child may be taking regularly, along with instructions on when the medications must be taken and the dosage.
In case of an emergency, your caregiver will have all this information in one place and will be relieved of the stress of having to find it.
And then go on your trip, relax and enjoy a much needed break! I know we will be!