What is the Murtaugh Law Safe Kids Kit and why do parents with minor children need one?

Parents: You probably understand why you need car insurance in case of a car accident.  You need to nominate legal guardians for your children for the same reason. 

If you leave your children with a caregiver and get in a car accident and are unable to care for your children, law enforcement or child protective services will decide where to place your children the day of the accident.  If you are unable to care for your children for an extended period of time, a judge will have to decide who to name as the permanent legal guardian.  If you have the proper legal documents in place, the judge will know who you want to take care of your children and if there is anyone that you do not want. 

Otherwise, there is no way for the judge to get input from the parents and the judge will make this decision for you.  If there are multiple people willing to help take care of the kids, this could result in a lengthy and expensive court battle, even though everyone has good intentions and just wants to help the children.  You need to name legal guardians because all of this can be avoided.  In most cases, the judge will nominate the guardian that the parents selected and there will be nothing to argue about.

We all see the headlines when tragedy strikes.  However, many people are not aware that the survivors often experience a very long and painful legal process.  That is why we work to educate people in our community so parents know what they need to do to protect their family.

Why do the guardian nominations need to be made outside of the will?

When you choose your temporary and permanent guardians we document that in a separate document from your will.  In addition, we prepare emergency ID cards with the names and phone numbers of the guardians that you can put in your wallet and your glove compartment.  This allows a first responder to know exactly who to call and can help your family find you. Putting the guardian nominations in a will does not do any good on the day of the accident if nobody knows you have a will or where it is located.  

The Safe Kids Kit includes:

  • Nomination of temporary guardians
  • Letter to temporary guardians
  • Nomination of permanent guardian(s)
  • Letter to permanent guardian(s)
  • Instructions to guardian(s)
  • Important healthcare information of minor child
  • Medical power of attorney for minor children
  • Confidential exclusion of guardian
  • Instructions to caregivers (laminated emergency contact numbers to give to babysitters, daycare, nanny,  or grandparents with instructions of who to do and who to call in what order)
  • Emergency identification cards (laminated cards with contact information of temporary and permanent guardians that fit in a wallet)

Our clients receive a folder that contains two copies of the laminated instructions to guardian with all of the necessary contact informationThis tells the caregiver who to call and what to do.  The rest of the safe kids kit documents should be kept in a fireproof object with your other legal documents, such as a will or a trust.

The Murtaugh Law Safe Kids Kit is necessary because it includes clear instructions to the people you select to care for your children.  It ensures that people will know where the legal documents are located, what needs to be done, and your plan will actually work if it is needed.