All parents should have a plan in place should an emergency strike during should hours, according to Marietta ProtectMyKidsPlan™ attorney, Steve Worrall. Preparations includes naming short-term guardians, listing the right people on school emergency cards and leaving detailed instructions with babysitters to avoid involvement with social services.
Marietta, GA – “Do you think a school emergency card is enough to protect your kids if something happens to you during school hours?” asks attorney Steve Worrall to a crowd of parents recently attending his popular ProtectMyKidsPlan™ Seminar in Marietta.
The majority of the room raise their hand yes. A few parents are undecided. Yet from a legal standpoint, all of them are wrong.
“Contrary to popular belief, a school emergency card will not protect your children from spending time in the hands of social services if something tragic happens to you, “says Worrall. “The emergency card only gives named contacts permission to pick your kid up if they are sick, not take short-term custody of them if one or both parents are killed or incapacitated in an accident,” he adds.
For this reason, experts such Worrall recommend parents create an emergency plan prior to going to back to school so there is no confusion or legal headaches should tragedy strike. According to Worrall, this plan can be created in 3 easy steps:
- Legally name short-term guardians for your kids– Short-term guardians are the people who have legal permission to care for your child until the surviving parent or long-term guardian can arrive. This should ultimately be someone who lives close by and one who will comfort your children in an emergency.
- Make sure your short-term guardians match those named in the school emergency card- In addition to listing friends and neighbors who can pick your child up from school if he or she gets sick, it’s equally important to list the full contact information of your short-term guardians for true emergencies. Without this information, your children would be placed temporarily in the custody of social services until the surviving parent or legal guardian can arrive.
- Make sure the babysitter knows what to do if you don’t return home– It’s extremely important that parents give their a.m. or p.m. babysitters detailed instructions on what to do and who to call if they don’t return home. In most cases, a babysitter will panic and turn to the police for help, again opening the door for social services to temporarily take custody of your kids until a long-term care provider can arrive.
“Creating a back-to-school emergency plan is so easy— and something that will greatly pay off if a parent is injured or killed during school hours,” Worrall says. “The first few hours after an emergency are the most painful for a child, so it’s important for parents to make sure their kids spend that time with people they love and trust, rather than in the arms of the state,” he adds.
For more information on Cobb County family law and family estate planning attorney, Steve Worrall, please visit http://georgiafamilylaw.com or call (770) 425-6060. For more information about or to attend a ProtectMyKidsPlan™ seminar, sign up at http://protectmykidsplan.com.
Georgia has recently enacted a new statutory form for powers of attorney in O.C.G.A. section 10-6-142. In the Code section just before that one, O.C.G.A. section 10-6-141, the legislature has codified an explanation of what appear to be Frequently Asked Questions about powers of attorney to be read by principals (the person giving the power to another person (the attorney in fact or agent).
WHAT IS A FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
This document is
called a "Financial Power of Attorney." It allows you to name one or
more persons to help you handle your financial affairs. Depending on
your individual circumstances, you can give this person or persons
complete or limited power to act on your behalf. This document does not
give someone the power to make medical decisions or personal decisions
WHAT CAN MY AGENT DO?
The "Agent" is the person you give power to handle your financial affairs.
The "Principal" is you.
decision to use this document is a very important one and you should
think carefully about what financial decisions you want your Agent to
make for you. With this document, you can give your Agent the right to
make all financial decisions or only certain, limited decisions.
example, you can allow your Agent to handle all your financial affairs,
including the power to sell, rent, or mortgage your home, pay your
bills, cash or deposit checks, buy and sell your stock, investments, or
personal items, or you can allow your Agent to handle only certain or
specific financial affairs such as to pay your monthly bills.
DO I GIVE ALL MY POWERS AWAY?
No. Even with this document, you can still handle your own financial affairs as long as you choose to or are able to.
need to talk to your Agent often about what you want and what he or she
is doing for you using the document. If your Agent is not following
your instructions or doing what you want, you may cancel or revoke the
document and end your Agent's power to act for you.
HOW DO I REVOKE MY FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
You may revoke your financial power of attorney by writing a signed and dated revocation of power of attorney
and giving it to your Agent. You should also give it to anyone who has
been relying upon the financial power of attorney and dealing with your
Agent, such as your bank and investment institutions.
you notify all parties dealing with your Agent of your revocation, they
may continue to deal with your Agent. You should contact a lawyer if
your Agent continues to act after you have revoked the power of
WHEN DOES MY AGENT'S AUTHORITY END?
long as you are living, the financial power of attorney will remain in
effect even if you become incapacitated or unable to communicate your
(1) A guardian is appointed for your property; or
(2) You include a date or specific occurrence when you want your document to be canceled.
upon your death or the death of your Agent or successor Agents, the
document will be canceled and the Agent's power to act for you will end.
can also include a date or a specific occurrence like your incapacity
or illness as the time when you want your document to be canceled and
your Agent's power to act for you to end.
WHEN DO THE POWERS TAKE EFFECT?
on your circumstances, you may wish to specify an occurrence or a
future date for the document to become effective. Unless you do so, it
becomes effective immediately.
MUST MY AGENT DO THOSE THINGS I AUTHORIZE?
But if your Agent accepts this responsibility and agrees to act for
you, he or she is required to sign and date the "Acceptance of
Appointment" contained in the financial power of attorney form.
HOW DO I COMPLETE THIS DOCUMENT?
the Principal and the Agent should read the full document carefully
before initialing or signing. The Principal and the Agent should fully
understand what powers are being granted to the Agent and what
restrictions, if any, exist.
Read each paragraph
carefully. If you decide to give your Agent the power described in the
paragraph, initial your name at the end of the paragraph.
you do not wish to give your Agent the power described in a paragraph,
strike through and initial the paragraph or any line within a paragraph.
HOW DO I EXECUTE THE DOCUMENT?
adult witnesses must watch you sign your name on the document. At least
one witness cannot be the Principal's spouse or blood relative. After
they witness you signing your name, the witnesses must sign their names.
document does not need to be notarized unless real property
transactions such as leasing, selling, or mortgaging of property are
THIS DOCUMENT REFLECTS THE WISHES OF THE PRINCIPAL.
not let anyone pressure you into making a financial power of attorney,
naming an Agent, or granting a power unless it is your choice.
If you do not understand any portion of this document, you should ask a lawyer to explain it to you.
SOURCE: Official Code of Georgia Annotated, Section 10-6-141.