Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Parenting Pointers: 5 Costly Mistakes Parents Make That Leave Kids at Risk

By Portia Wood

Did you know that the United States ranked fourth in the world for orphaned children due to the COVID-19 pandemic


A study published by the Centers for Disease Control found that between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, more than 140,000 children under age 18 in the United States lost a parent, custodial grandparent, or grandparent caregiver who provided the child’s home and basic needs, including love, security, and daily care.


It’s a somber reminder that while we want to look forward to bright futures with our children and grandchildren, there are circumstances beyond our control that could take us out of their lives. Yet many parents have not done all that they can to assure that their children are properly cared for if tragedy strikes.


Many times parents of young children just aren’t prepared. This includes not having guardianship paperwork in place to protect their kids. 


Who raises your children if something happens to you? Most people don’t realize that their parents and siblings will not automatically be authorized as guardians, and child protective services can take your kids until a judge decides. This tops our list of the five most common and costly mistakes parents make when it comes to protecting kids:


1.  Letting courts decide who will raise their children. Parents who have not selected legal guardians for their children are leaving decisions to strangers in the court system.

2.  Assuming a plan is not necessary because their family will care for their children. Children can unintentionally end up in the wrong caregiver’s hands resulting in custody battles.

3.  Being unprepared for something catastrophic, like a serious accident or illness. When both parents are gone and no guardianship has been determined, Child Protective Services is often called until a Judge determines a place for the children.

4.  Being unprepared to pay for your children’s continued care, education and health needs.

5.  Winding up in a guardian selection nightmare. They explain how to choose the best guardian and avoid picking the wrong one.


It doesn’t take a pandemic to wreak havoc in our lives. According to the CDC, 805,000 Americans experience a heart attack and 795,000 suffer a stroke each year. Automobile accidents claim approximately 39,000 American lives annually, and disable many more.


We don’t have control over when or how tragedy and death will come our way. But we can take steps now to protect our loved ones. 


Make sure you have the proper legal documents in place to protect your children if you should become seriously ill or find yourself  in the hospital for an extended period of time. By doing your estate planning now, while you are alive and well, you are doing what you can to protect your kids. 


About the Author: Portia M. Wood, Esq., is a generational wealth planning attorney. Based in Los Angeles, she leads Wood Legal Group, LLP, an African American woman-owned and operated law firm specializing in estate planning, probate, and elder law that she runs with her mother and law partner, Robin Wood. They are passionately focused on helping all families grow and protect wealth by being a trusted resource for accurate information and comprehensive, culturally competent estate planning. Learn more at


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