California Estate Planning Blog
Category: Guardian+ Planning

Planning a kid-free vacation this summer? Don't Forget these Important Babysitter Instructions

The arrival of summer has many parents dreaming of relaxing days, sandy white beaches and fruity cocktails. How do you get there?  First, you have to be lucky enough to have a trusted babysitter who can keep your kids during your dream getaway.  Next, you have to give the babysitter the proper instructions for your absence -- it may prove more important than packing your suitcase.

What can I do to prepare my babysitter for our kid-free vacation?

  • Create a set of Emergency Instructions.  We all know how to call 911, but it’s not the best solution for all emergencies.  Lay out a strategy to respond to fire, earthquake, and other kinds of mandatory evacuations, as well as medical emergencies.  Post it in plain view so that your caregiver has immediate access to your preferred plan of action.
  • Make a Medical Information Card for each child. Don’t make the caregiver ask your child about his or her allergies or other medical conditions.  The Medical Information Card should include specific information about allergies and symptoms of reactions, other life-threatening medical conditions, and the contact information for your pediatrician and dentist.  You may also want to include the location of the closest emergency room and urgent care.  For minor cuts and scrapes, give the location of the first-aid supplies in your home.
  • Consider giving your caregiver a temporary Medical Power of Attorney for your child. A Medical Power of Attorney would grant your chosen caregiver the legal ability to make medical decisions for your child.  This is especially important if your weekend getaway includes an area with limited cellular service or time changes.
  • Address what to do if you don’t come home as planned. If you are delayed because of a car accident or some other kind of medical issue, the police will eventually contact your caregiver and your children will likely be taken by Child Protective Services. Your caregiver does not have the legal right to keep custody of your children unless it is specifically granted to him or her. The wisest precaution to avoid that outcome is to name a temporary guardian for your children.  Your caregiver must have the contact information for your named temporary guardian, and he or she must arrive on scene with a signed authorization in hand as evidence of his or her right to take temporary custody of your children. 

Each of the items in the checklist above are part of our Guardians+ Plan which is included in every LifeLadder Estate Plan package. 

 If you are planning a trip and want get your documents in order before you go, follow the link below to access our introductory webinar and online scheduler.

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