By Dr. Gwen Smith


As a parent there are many considerations that you have in raising your child, and even some that you may not have considered, or some about which you have no precise knowledge about what to do. There are financial considerations, well-being considerations and in general other issues surrounding the support of your children that will help ameliorate some of the existing needs you and your children have. We recently had a conversation with Geri Chase, Esquire, about what it is that is important for you to consider in legal matters, as you are raising your children. We provide for you a summary of our interview with Geri. For more details please listen to our podcast interview on The Dr. Gwen Show.

First and foremost it is important to maintain adequate liability insurance for your protection against mishaps or trouble caused by your kids. An umbrella policy is an inexpensive way to do this. Umbrella policies can be obtained through your car insurance company and other insurance companies. Shop around for premiums and coverages. The umbrella policy is a policy that goes over and beyond any coverage you already have such as home or car insurances. Maintaining an umbrella liability can save huge headaches in case there is a mishap beyond the coverages already provided by other insurances.

We also spoke with Geri about issues concerning the well-being of your child, in the event that you are no longer around to take care of them. Having a will is an integral part of this solution. Naming a guardian to be responsible for the care and well-being of your child is an event that is never too early to engage in. You can revise this information as often as you’d like. Geri advises against putting your will in a safety deposit box, as that becomes sealed upon your decease. The will needs to be filed in your state at the register of wills, typically at the courthouse.

Personal property information can also be included on a list which should include financial accounts. It is good practice to have a well-trusted personal friend or relative aware of banking and online information as this is often not retrievable if not previously disclosed or recorded. A Payable on Death account can be established with your banking institution which will allow the bank to release funds to your designee upon your death, avoiding unnecessary probate issues. Geri recommends that avoiding probate is not necessarily the best thing. Listen to the recording for further details.

 Finally, in addressing provision for the needs of your children, child support is a viable option if the father is not actively supporting the child. Getting child support through the system is one route in addition to having it court-ordered. The Office of Child Support can support you for a nominal fee to open a case for support and also for enforcement of existing support. Listen to details and for other topics such as custody issues, etc., on The Dr. Gwen Show. 

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