There are a lot of things you need to know as a parent. These 3 documents should be at the top of your list.

Being a parent is one of the most joyful experiences we can have. At least for me, being a mum has completely changed the way I view the world.

At the same time, it has also been the most challenging journey. And not because it is so difficult to be a parent, but because of the constant urge to protect my children.

When I say protect, I mean everything from making sure they are tightly tucked in their beds at night, to helping them make the right choices when going away to college or even making sure that they are taken care of when you are gone.

As a lawyer, I think of myself as extremely lucky because I knew how and what I needed to do to protect my children in case something happened to me.

But it breaks my heart to see so many parents that have no clue about the legal documents that become crucial to the fate of a child in case something happens to them.

The worst thing is that it’s not your fault! Nobody talks about this stuff and you have no way of knowing which are the 3 documents you need to understand in order to protect your children unless you consciously decide to consult a lawyer.

Now before you do that, I want to give you a heads up on what to expect and why it is important for you and the safety of your child.

Read the difference between these documents carefully to know when and what you will need to make sure your child is taken care of in the way you want by the people you want.

1) Power of Attorney

This is a legal document that is commonly used for a variety of purposes. It generally means that a person (“the attorney”) is able to carry out legal and other actions as if they were you (“the principal”).

This might include signing legal documents, access to your bank accounts, etc. You can limit the power of your attorney or revoke it any time.

However, if something happens to you or you are incapable of making decisions the power of the attorney is cancelled immediately and not valid anymore.

If the power of attorney is made enduring this means that it will be still valid if the principal is incapable of taking their own decisions (due to illness for example). Power of attorney is for now; enduring power of attorney is for the future.

2) Guardianship

A Guardian is the person who takes decisions on your behalf. I usually advise parents to appoint a guardian for their children in case something happens to them.

By doing this you can be sure that your children will be taken care of by the person you want to raise them.

Guardianship is usually concerning a person that can no longer take care of themselves – people with mental illness, people going through psychological trauma or addiction rehabilitation. There can be many cases in which a guardian is necessary for you or your child.

Find someone who you trust and has the capacity to take on this role and arrange the details with your lawyer whenever necessary.

If something unexpected happens to you so that you are incapable of making your own decisions, a guardian will be appointed for you.

However, if you want to prepare for the future and be able to choose your own guardian, you need an:

3) Enduring guardianship

Enduring means looking for the future. An enduring guardianship is a document that appoints someone to take day-to-day decisions on your behalf (such as where you live and which facilities you use) sometime in the future provided you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself.

You can appoint anyone in this position. While the guardianship loses power if you lose capacity, the enduring guardianship is meant for the times that you might not be able to take care of yourself anymore.

These are the three basic documents that every parent needs to understand.

The differences might look small to you but they are crucial from a legal perspective. Contacting your lawyer is the right choice for making legal decisions.

They will be able to give you personalised advice and draft any document that will support your goals of protecting your children.

See, legal isn’t that scary! What really scares me is waiting too long to put your affairs in order – protecting your children needs to be pre-emptive.

Do you any of these documents in place? Please share in the comments below.

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  • it is always good to have articles that explain things in simpler terms to give you knowledge and help take away the sense of overwhelmingness.


  • Very wise and informative, thank you.


  • My cousin had two boys. She lost her husband to Cancer and so took it very seriously to make sure her sons were taken care of in her Will. She spoke to her brother and he agreed to take the children if anything was to happen to her. Oh course people always think that it will never happen but it did. Tragically she passed away after a bad asthma attack. Her mother decided that she wanted custody of the boys so her brother told the courts he didnt want them. The boys fathers family swooped in and won custody because the Fathers brother and his wife had children of similar age, etc. They were taken to a totally different part of the country and ended up living with people they had only seen once before in their lives. They were very unhappy and mistreated. They are both adults now and the eldest has moved back to where his mothers family are from and the youngest has changed his name and moved to the US…far away from those that brought him up.

    Be very, very careful who you list as guardians and make sure they take it seriously.


  • My husband and I have been talking about doing these documents for a while now but we have no idea who to appoint as guardian etc for our daughter. We both have 2 brothers but are not keen on trusting them with her at all. I have 2 friends I could ask but they have their own families and my husband doesn’t like their partners parenting style. I guess we are going to have to do some serious thinking and get this sorted out ASAP!!


  • I am very fortunate to have a father who is a solicitor and who specialises in these types of affairs. Certainly gives me comfort that if necessary there is someone there to look after mine and my family’s interests.


  • Wow certainly seems like the time to contact a lawyer and sort this out. In my head I have ideas of who will look after my daughter but none of this is in a legal document.


  • So very important to understand these – I am often surprised how few people have set these up. If you have a will, these should be set up as part of the process. So important.


  • Essential info, thank you very much.I will be passing this onto my friends.


  • Being a Mum of 5, this article has really opened my eyes. Thankyou for sharing.


  • Thank you for sharing. Not something i had really known about


  • It has been crossing my mind more lately, that I need to really visit my lawyer to get things sorted out in the event of my passing. Not only a proper will, but the afore mentioned documents also


  • We don’t have any of these documents in place yet. Thanks for sharing, will get on top of them now.


  • understanding


  • I don’t have any of these documents need to look into them though thanks for sharing :)


  • documents must to understand


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