Guest Column

Five questions that every parent should be able to answer


Ask any parent and they will agree that they want nothing more than to make sure their kids are safe, protected and cared for, especially in the event of an emergency or an unexpected event that prevents a parent (or both) from being there to comfort them. While we don’t like to think that something bad might happen to us that would jeopardize our children’s safety, the fact of the matter is we have no guarantees, and it’s for this very reason we insure our cars, homes — even our own lives.

Have you ever taken a moment to logically walk through what would happen to your children if an emergency, crisis or tragedy took you, the parent(s), away from your children? To be honest, I never had, but then I did, and I did not like what my answers were.

As I began to think about my own children’s safety and protection, I came up with the five crucial questions you can read below. I realized that if I didn’t have an answer for each of these questions, then my children were not protected if crisis, emergency or even tragedy should hit our home. With that in mind, consider the following:

  1. In an emergency — if neither you nor your spouse (if you have one) are available, who specifically will take your kids into their care?
  2. Can your Trusted Person make it to your children in under 45 minutes?
  3. Does your Trusted Person have legal authority to take your kids into their care and custody in your absence?
  4. Who would act as a “back up” if your Trusted Person was not available — and is that person also legally authorized?
  5. Do your kids have any special needs (medical or other) that your Trusted Person must know about to ensure their well-being?

Not too long ago, when I first started thinking about what I needed to do to keep my family safe and protected, I couldn’t answer any of these five questions in a way that I was comfortable with. As a result, I set out to fix the problem, first for my family, and then to help other parents do the same.

After considerable thought and research, I identified the seven foundational legal documents necessary so that I, as a parent, can answer each of these five questions in way that gives me peace of mind knowing that in emergency or should the unexpected occur, my kids will be safe and protected. In fact, I took these documents and complied them into what I have called a “Kids Protection Plan” that I now help other families complete for themselves.

If you don’t like any of your answers to these questions — it’s OK, know you’re not alone. The good news is you can change it. You can create a plan on your own or with the guidance of a professional. Just remember whatever you do, any plan is better than no plan. If you would like help planning for your family, well that’s exactly what I do. 

Submitted by Reid Mann

Reid is the founding attorney of Compass Estate Law.

He is married and the father of five young children.