Dear Reader,

Sometimes tragedy strikes. No one expects it.  You’re driving down the road, your spouse by your side with the kids in the back.  It’s a bright sunny day, and everyone’s thoughts are on fun afternoon plans that are never going to happen.

Why? Because the 18-wheeler two cars up is about to lose a tire, and when it does, it will careen into your car, penning it against the guardrail.  You won’t survive. Neither will your spouse.  Miraculously, your minor child will live.

This is a nightmare. A worst-case scenario.  One I’ve seen played out in different ways too many times to count.

This nightmare gets worse—even more painful, when family members begin to fight over the fate of your child or, worse still, there is no one to step in immediately, and your now orphaned child is forced into the foster care system.

While this is a scenario nobody wants to dwell on, it underscores the importance of choosing a guardian and making plans that protect your child if tragedy were to strike.

Selecting a guardian is a decision you can’t take lightly. The consequences of making the wrong choice could ruin your child’s life. To ensure your child’s safety, happiness, and well-being in the event of your untimely death, you need to be aware of and avoid common mistakes.

  1. Not Discussing Your Choice With Your Desired Guardian First: Selecting a guardian without discussing your decision with them first can lead to misunderstandings. It’s essential to ensure that the chosen guardian is willing and prepared to take on the immense responsibility of caring for your child.
  2. Ignoring Financial Stability: Financial stability is a fundamental factor in your child’s upbringing. Ignoring the financial situation of your chosen guardian can lead to hardships for your child. Discuss their financial capabilities and consider setting up a trust fund to provide for your child’s needs.
  3. Lack of Legal Documentation: A verbal agreement or a simple note in your will may not be sufficient to ensure your child’s well-being. You need a legally binding guardianship plan, including wills, trusts, and guardianship documents.
  4. Ignoring Health and Age: The age and health of your chosen guardian are critical considerations. An older guardian may have difficulty keeping up with your active child, while health issues can affect their ability to provide care. Choose someone who is both willing and physically capable.
  5. Not Reviewing the Decision Regularly: Circumstances change over time. A guardian who was suitable in the past may no longer be the best choice in the future. Regularly review your decision and update it if necessary to ensure it remains in the best interest of your child.
  6. Not Naming Temporary Guardians: What happens between the time of your passing and when your chosen guardian takes custody? Naming a temporary guardian can prevent your child from ending up in the care of child protective services during this transition.
  7. Failing to Communicate Your Choices with Family: Family disputes can be emotionally taxing and damaging to your child’s well-being. Discuss your choices with close family members to help them understand your decision and reduce the potential for conflict.

Over the past forty-four years, it’s been my privilege to serve our community, representing victims of negligent or intentionally harmful acts.  It is in this same spirit of service that I’m now offering a Child Protection Plan designed to make your wishes crystal clear regarding what you want for your child in the event of your untimely passing. This plan includes Wills, Guardianships, and Trusts—the legal documentation you need to ensure your wishes are carried out precisely as you intend.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Child Protection Plan, please reach out to me at or text or call 703-472-7688 to arrange a discreet and confidential conversation about your Children’s Protection Plan.


Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

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