This following post is written in partnership with Bloomwell.
As parents we do everything we can to protect our children. But there is one super important thing that many of us put off doing, and that’s obtaining legal documents to protect our children if we are away from home (like when we use a babysitter or a relative to watch the children), have an accident or serious illness, or we pass away. Nobody wants to think about this, but it is of utmost importance.
The folks at Bloomwell, a family-centric company, have found that 84% of people do not have the basic legal documents they need, and they are fixing that.
Just the words “family legal documents” is not very fun, and can be a little intimidating. Really, there aren’t too many of them, and each has a purpose. You may only need 1 or 2 right now, but will likely need others in the future. Here are the biggies:
Last Will and Testament – Most people know what this is but in a nutshell, your Will dictates how your property will be distributed, including payment of your debts. This also allows you to choose who raises your children, how you want to distribute sentimental items, choose your funeral and burial details, and more. This sounds complicated but you can create a will in 10-15 minutes. Well worth your time.
Living Trust – Now this is similar to a Will, but you actually put all your assets into a trust for your beneficiaries. The biggest benefit of this is that it allows you to fully control your assets during your life and allows your loved ones to avoid probate (approximately 4-6% of your life savings could go to a court appointed executor during probate with a Will. You avoid this with a Living Trust). Also, the contents of your Trust are administered privately, versus a public court process involved with a Will. This is a bit more complicated than a Will, but still easily doable.
Child Medical Consent – This is something we don’t often think about but we should. If you are traveling or unavailable, this allows you to pick someone who can make sure your child gets the right care in an emergency.
For example: You are at work retreat and unreachable by phone for a few hours and during this time your child gets hurt during a football game. The Child Medical Consent would have vital information including: blood type, allergies, medical insurance info, and physician’s name and number.
Child Travel Consent – If you are sending your child to see Grandma alone on an airplane, then this is for you. Also, if one parent is travelling abroad with the children and the other can’t make it for some reason, then you also need this document. This doc lays out your child’s travel plan, emergency contacts, emergency info, etc. While this doc is always a great help travelling anytime, the government requires it when travelling abroad (to protect children). This is important to remember so you don’t get stuck at the airport.
Financial Power of Attorney – This allows you to designate a person to manage your financial affairs if you are incapable of handling them. For example, you could have an unexpected illness, become incapacitated or such. If this happens, a Financial Power of Attorney is needed so things keep going. A good one, like the one at Bloomwell, includes best practices that protect the person giving the consent, such as limiting the rights and abilities of the agent they way you want.
Pet Trust – This allows you to select that perfect person to care for you beloved pets including providing funds and instructions for their care by someone you trust. It protects your pet if you become unable to care for him/her/them. Pet Trusts can be funded through your Will, some of your insurance proceeds, or right away with a modest amount.
Health Care Directive – This doc is important in that it provides instructions for your medical care including the quality of care you desire, pain meds you want, and if you want life support. It is used when you become unable to make your own health care decisions (like when you are in surgery, have an accident, are on stronger medicines, or incapacitated).
Domestic Partnership Agreement – This formalizes legal rights and responsibilities of each partner of a long term relationship that isn’t a marriage. For example, it says who is responsible for which bills (like the mortgage), duties and financial help if you separate (if any).
There are typically two major barriers to why we don’t get legal documents. First: The price and second: the legalese can be really confusing.
Luckily the lawyers at Bloomwell discovered these same issues and decided to do something about it. They offer highly customizable family documents online that are specific to your state and tailored for your family’s specific needs, and yet are still easy to do. I found it really easy to create my [Document] and liked the service.
You can purchase one document or for only $79 a year can get unlimited access to all of the documents needed for your family. They also store the docs in their secure cloud storage (with bank level encryption) and you have unlimited revisions.
Bloomwell has made it super simple and they have removed all of your excuses. So make it your New Year’s resolution to get this done so you can have the confidence that your family is protected.