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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

Why It’s Important to Have a Child Protection Plan in Place

POSTED ON: December 29, 2020

child protection plan

A child protection plan involves naming both short- and long-term guardians, mapping financial considerations, and expressing goals and wishes for your child’s upbringing. By creating a child protection plan, you can ensure that your child receives your guidance, wisdom, and support even if you’re not there to give it yourself. 

Having a standard will or living trust doesn’t protect your child from getting placed in the care of Child Protective Services, even temporarily. With a child protection plan, you get to select the people to take care of your child if you pass on before your child is an adult and you can shield your child from con artists who try to scam 18-year-olds out of their inheritances.

There are important steps that you can take to protect your children. A Massachusetts estate planning attorney can talk to you and explain your options.

What Can Happen to Your Child if You Don’t Create a Child Protection Plan

If you don’t take the appropriate measures, a judge who doesn’t  know you or your family could decide who will raise your child. Many families get torn apart by court battles over which relatives will raise the child of a deceased family member. Money that could get used to help raise your child could get spent on legal disputes.

Initially, your child could be in the hands of a stranger through Child Protective Services, something no parent wants. When grieving your death, your child shouldn’t have to stay with strangers. Depending on your situation, there might not be a relative whom the court would approve. However, the person you designate to raise your child doesn’t have to be related to you. You might have a friend who would be wonderful to take care of your child. Without the proper paperwork from you, however, the judge could appoint a relative instead of your friend. 

Most people have a relative they wouldn’t  want to raise their child, but who looks good on paper. If that person is persistent, the judge might get swayed to choose that person as the guardian of your child. Your child could end up with someone you wouldn’t  want to serve as guardian if you have a close relative with whom you have profound differences on things like:

  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Child discipline
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Tolerance

Sometimes the issue isn’t the guardian, but the child’s inheritance. With a standard will, your child could get a windfall on their 18th birthday, regardless of whether the child has the emotional maturity or financial savvy to handle getting all of that money at one time. 

Although it gets little public attention, there’s a common scam that targets children whose parent or parents are deceased. These crooks dig through public records to find information about minor children of deceased parents. As soon as these children get their inheritance checks, these scammers launch schemes to take their money. A child protection plan can watch over your child when you’re no longer here to do so. 

Finally, it usually takes six months to a year or longer for the court to distribute assets to beneficiaries under a will. An estate plan that includes a child protection plan can get money disbursed much sooner than that, to pay your child’s expenses.

As a child guardianship attorney in Massachusetts, I focus on planning for the well-being and care of the children you love. I can help you craft a child protection plan to meet your unique situation. Our Child Protection Plan is a set of instructions, legal documents, and even an ID card for your wallet, which you need to have if you have kids at home who count on you for their well-being and care. Contact The Heritage Law Center today at info@maheritagelawcenter.com or 617.299.6976 for a free initial consultation.