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Planning Ahead Makes Good Sense

Planning ahead for unforeseen circumstances is vital for peace of mind.

Have you ever considered what would happen to your children if you didn’t come home today? My daughter was two years old before I really thought about it. My wife and I, like most other parents, would leave our cell numbers with a babysitter but never thought about what would happen if we were in a car accident.

When you leave your children with a babysitter whose contact information do you leave?  Would they know what to do if you didn’t answer? Your sitter may call the police if something horrible happened, but I wondered what would the police do when confronted by a teenage babysitter caring for a minor child whose parents aren’t answering the phone. 

When I called the Sheriff’s office to inquire about that, I was told the children would be taken into custody by the Division of Family & Children’s Services. That may mean your children are put into foster care. Perhaps they wouldn’t be there long, but they would be in the care of strangers. For me, that was unacceptable and immediately revealed a huge gap in traditional estate planning.

As a result, I implemented Kid’s Protection Planning, a holistic approach to planning for families with minor children. The Kid’s Protection Plan allows you to appoint the people you want to care for your children as well as to exclude those whom you do not want to care for your kids and helps you communicate with your babysitters and guardians so they know what to do should anything happen to you. 

First, improve your communication. Don’t just give your babysitters your cell phone number. Give them other trusted friends and family contact information. With family, your children will likely not end up in the care of strangers at all. 

Second, if you haven’t already appointed long-term guardians for your children, I have a free tool you can use. This doesn’t cover the short-term gap, but it will give the court guidance on who you want to care for your kids in the long term, which could help get the kids out of the care of strangers quicker. You can find that tool at

Finally, if you know you have gaps in your planning, reach out to schedule a time for us to meet. A good first step is scheduling a Free 15 Minute Consult which can be done at

Being a parent is the hardest job on the planet, but also the most rewarding. Give yourself the peace of mind that, should anything happen to you, your children will be cared for by those you want and not end up in the care and custody of strangers.

Daniel Campen, Attorney at Law

Elder Law, VA, Special Needs & Estate Planning


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