The other day, I read a post in a Facebook mommy group from a mom who said that she and her partner were writing their will and found out that if they didn’t appoint a legal guardian, their children could potentially end up with foster carers for a few years until the local council assesses any family members as suitable to look after their kids. This is a subject that I have been thinking about since my daughter was born and whilst my daughter’s godparents have said they would look after her, we don’t have anything written down yet. I know we all hope to live to a ripe old age but this post is just to remind you if you are a parent, that you need to have a Plan If. Think of it as your insurance policy. You hope to never need it but can sleep easy at night, knowing that it is there should you ever need it.
What is Plan If?
As much as we may not like to talk about it, every day someone somewhere dies. So, as a parent, most especially if your children are quite young, you should ask yourself: What would happen to my children if I suddenly died? Who would look after them? Would they need to change schools? What would they live on? Who would inherit what I own? etc etc etc.
If you are a couple, whilst there’s a possibility that one parent might be able to bring up your children alone if one of you died, what would happen if both of you died at the same time?
If you are a single parent and your child(dren)’s other parent doesn’t have parental responsibility, is there anyone else that has parental responsibility or do you have a legal guardian appointed? If no, there’s a possibility that your child(ren) may end up in local authority care.
If you do not have the answer to these and similar questions, then you need to have a Plan If. Your Plan If includes practical things like writing your will, appointing a legal guardian and setting up a life insurance policy. You can also capture family time together with lots and lots of pictures.
I was not the most organised person but I am slowly trying to change that. For instance, I am trying to put all my daughter’s pictures in a folder in my cloud drive and name each folder for each family activity. I have also written our family tree. My books speak for themselves in terms of things I hope to tell my daughter when she’s older.
Appointing legal guardians
I personally don’t think this is a one-time decision and you are free to change your mind as often as you need to but ensuring you put your child(ren)’s best interests first. When my daughter was born, I asked four friends to be my In Case of Emergency contacts and that they would look after my baby should I suddenly pass away. After losing 2L of blood during labour, I knew that death could happen at any time.
Three years later and looking at my friends not from a platonic friend point of view but from the point of view that this person would raise my child in my absence, I have since shortened the list of four to a list of two people. The two people, every now and then, get reminded that they are also my child’s parents. I think being Yoruba helps as we believe that it takes a community to raise a child. So a child never fully belongs to his/her parent alone. You would normally see one Yoruba person ask another “how are my children” instead of “how are your children”.
If you write a will, you can also state who you do not want to raise your child(ren).
I know this is a morbid topic, so I won’t write much about it. I do ask you to click here if you would like to create your Plan If. If you do already have your Plan If or some parts of it, please leave a comment below. I would love to know more about it.