Do I Need a Will or Trust to Protect My Child?

As a new parent, you have tons of new responsibilities. There are even legal issues you need to consider to help protect both yourself and your family in your absence. What's the difference between a will and trust? How do you decide who should have guardianship of your child? And what are some general liabilities to consider for playdates and other get-togethers?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Do I Need a Will or Trust to Protect My Child?


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

MICHELLE BURTON: Many of our feelings about having a baby or starting a family are tight up in emotions. The reality is that there are many practical and even legal ramifications that result from having a child. What are some of the rights and responsibilities for parents and how does having a baby changes things from a legal prospective? I'm Michelle Burton, an attorney and legal analyst and this is Parent Savers, episode 90.

[Theme Music/Intro]

JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome everybody once again to Parent Savers, broadcasting from The Birth Education Center of San Diego. Parent Savers is weekly online on The Go Support Group from contraception to kindergarden. I'm you host, Johner Riehl. Thanks again to all of our loyal listeners who join us week in and week out and thanks also to those of who maybe are listening for the first time. You guys, can join our Parent Savers Club if you haven't already and receive special bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts from time to time.

And if haven't already please make sure to download the free Parent Savers app, available on the Android and iTunes market places so you can have access to all the great parenting advice and conversation we have on Parent Savers every week. Let's start this week conversation by meeting everyone who's joining us. I'll start by introducing myself, as you guys know I'm Johner Riehl and so twice I have done the bachelor mistake the guy calls then girls guys. I just did that, so I'm sorry for calling everybody guys. So thank you listeners. So I'm Johner Rielf, I have three boys - by the time this one will airs, the oldest will be seven , a four years old and a two years old.

HADLEY AJANA: My name us Hadley Ajana. I am an attorney and I work in Tax Law and I have a son who is ten months old.

JOHNER RIEHL: And he is joining us so we may hear him.

HADLEY AJANA: I’m sorry. He’s eight months old. Yeah, and he’s here.

JOHNER RIEHL: So we’ll just tell them nine months.

ERIN ESTEVES: So, I’m Erin Esteves. I’m the producer also known as O.G.Mamasita and I have one boy and he is two.

MICHELLE BURTON: I’m Michelle Burton. I’m an attorney in San Diego and I have two children - a teenager, age fourteen and a middle-school daughter who’s eleven.

JOHNER RIEHL: Nice. And I’m married to an attorney too, so I’m in my element.

MICHELLE BURTON: You poor man!

[Everybody laughs]


[Theme Music]

JOHNER RIEHL: So before we jump in to today’s topic, let’s look at one of the today’s headlines and we’ll put this picture up on the side. But the headline is that someone called for a “milkman” and if you could at this picture that Erin has around. The story is from October, of actually 2002, so it goes back awhile in Sri Lanka. A thirty-eight years old Sri Lankan man whose wife had died three months earlier during childbirth is attempting to breastfeed his two infant daughters.

My eldest daughter refused to be fed with the powdered milk liquid in the feeding bottle – he said – I was so moved one evening and to stop her crying I offered my breast and then realized that I was capable of breastfeeding her – the man admitted. A doctor in Sri Lanka the government hospital says it is possible for a man to produce milk if the prolactin hormone became hyperactive.

So apparently men and boys have mammary glands just like women but there is so little mammary tissue that they are usually not noticed but under the right conditions with the right stimulus then a man can produce breast milk. And so in this picture this man is breastfeeding his babies. What to you guys think about that?

MICHELLE BURTON: Well I think it would take a lot of getting use to …

JOHNER RIEHL: That’s right.

MICHELLE BURTON: And I wonder if, you know it is more of a soothing thing for the baby rather than actual milk being produced and coming out.

JOHNER REIHL: I saw how much Christina has struggled all three times at the early stages of breastfeeding to figure it out and get the lads just try it and she is still breastfeeding our three year old and just she will say – oh my God, this hurts so bad, like sometimes, because he is using her as a soother. I think about my … that would hurt my nipples.

[Everybody laughs]

JOHNER REIHL: Because I can’ imagine that breast milk would come out.

ERIN ESTEVES: I have to call conspiracy here and honestly say that in order for me to truly believe this I would have to do like a lot of research and make sure that this just wasn’t some … I don’t know …

JOHNER REIHL: At the very least though, I would imagine that men could soothe their kids with their nipples.

ERIN ESTEVES: Absolutely, sure, why not?

JOHNER REIHL: But it is the producing breast milk part.

ERIN ESTEVES: It is the producing breast milk. I mean men can get breast cancer.

JOHNER REIHL: Theoretically though with the right hormones shouldn’t it be … I guess this is a question for Robin at the Boob group. Theoretically it seems like it would be possible with the right mix of hormones.

HADLEY AJANA: I don’t know, this is like national inquired …

[Everybody laughs]

MICHELLE BURTON: Even you would have to get injected probably with the right hormones.

ERIN ESTEVES: This is why I say it is a conspiracy theory because if men physically were capable all of breastfeeding I think that it would be one of those unspoken things amongst men not to make it known.

JOHNER REIHL: Right, well there is the other …

[Everybody laughs]

JOHNER REIHL: There is like a funny article where if men could breastfeed. It would be like the best thing in the world, there would be commercials during the Super Bowl.

ERIN ESTEVES: Oh sure, sure.

JOHNER REIHL: But I think the part that I can really sympathize at this story, I mean obviously so sad for this man whose wife died in childbirth but also that moment where you are going to do anything to try and soothe your child and if she was inconsolable like here take mine like you know …

ERIN ESTEVES: Oh that is just heartbreaking.

JOHNER REIHL: Yeah, anyway we will put that article up on episode page on the site; the picture itself is actually priceless. So make sure to check it out and let us know what you guys think if this is possible and perhaps we will have to call in our experts over in The Boob group and see what they say.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER REIHL: Now it is time for today’s topic here on Parent Savers. We are going to be talking about Legalities of parenting, rights and responsibilities. Today we are talking with Michelle Burton, thanks for joining us. Let’s just dive right into the topic; what are some steps, you know, before parents even have a baby, things that they should start thinking about of how things are going to change from a legal perspective. I mean we are all wrapped up already in the emotional and the nesting and everything but from a very practical legal perspective, what are some things that as soon as someone gets pregnant that they need to start thinking about?

MICHELLE BURTON: New parents especially because they are wrapped up in the emotion and the excitement of having a new baby aren’t really thinking about things that could possibly go wrong or making sure that they have a will, you know, so that if something happens their wishes would be followed as far as taking care of their child, who would be the legal guardian, the proper amount of life insurance that you might need to get …

JOHNER REIHL: How do you designate that? Do you have to file a certain paper that said this is who the legal guardian is as part of your will?

MICHELLE BURTON: It can be a part of your will. So you can have a will, in California wills are fairly easy to create, there are many kits available online that you can go on to and it will have all of the legal ease terms in it for you and you just kind of fill in the blanks.

JOHNER REIHL: (inaudible)

MICHELLE BURTON: Exactly! And they make it very easy. You can also, in California Hall it is called a holographic will, you can write it out on a piece of paper and sign your will and a lot of people do this just so that they have something. And you stick it into an envelope and you just write, you know …

JOHNER REIHL: Does it need to be notarized or anything?

MICHELLE BURTON: It doesn’t need to be notarized. You just can write it out, sign your name and that has testamentary …

JOHNER REIHL: Really? And seal it? And seal the envelope

MICHELLE BURTON: Yes, and seal it - It is not as good as having, you know, a will that is witnessed but in a pinch if you have nothing that is something that you should write out.

JOHNER REIHL: Interesting.

ERIN ESTEVES: Does it need to be post-marked? I mean is it something that you would mail to yourself?

MICHELLE BURTON: You should put the date on it, you don’t really need to mail it to yourself. You can just write to be open upon my …


MICHELLE BURTON: Passing and you can stick it in …

JOHNER REIHL: Well that is interesting.

MICHELLE BURTON: In some states it is not like that, but in California is so … recognize that.

JOHNER REIHL: And that could be even like detailed of everything …

MICHELLE BURTON: You can say …

JOHNER REIHL: Or you could just say …

MICHELLE BURTON: You could say I want my favorite ring to go to my sister in your will or you should use words – I leave or I requite or I give.

JOHNER REIHL: And this isn’t the recommended way to do it.

MICHELLE BURTON: No, this is just …

[Everybody Laughs]

MICHELLE BURTON: A lot of people sometimes say – oh well I’m leaving my child for the first time or getting on a plane tomorrow and I have nothing, what if something happens. Now this when people start thinking about what if something happens so, you know, just write something out, stick it in an envelope, give it to your sister, your friend to put in their safe and you know, you have something that shows your intent.

JOHNER REIHL: Yeah but with the benefit of more time it should take more …

MICHELLE BURTON: Exactly, yes.

JOHNER REIHL: Thorough steps.

MICHELLE BURTON: Right. An important thing about a will is, you know, if you have a will your will basically says who gets what and when they get it. And you want to be in control of that and especially on who will become the guardian of your child if something happens to you, you know the mother and the father.

JERIN ESTEVES: Johner, I actually have a Facebook question about that and the Facebook question was from Anonymous and she said that she was actually a child of foster care, she doesn’t know her birth family, and she doesn’t know any family. She is a new mother and she is worried about what she should do because, if something happens to her. She doesn’t want her child to end up in the system like she was.

MICHELLE BURTON: Right, so if you have very good friends when thinking about who should become the guardian of your child you have to take a lot into consideration. Such as the ages of your parents or other family members if there, if they actually would be up to the task, if they would be financially up to the task because taking on another child, you know, there is a financial burden and responsibility that comes along with that. Or if you don’t have those people and your family you should look outside to some of your close friends, for instance my best friend that I went to college with is the guardian of my children.

Even though my parents are still alive and we had this conversation early on when our children were both born, so you know, look for people and have that conversation with good friends or other family members, it doesn’t need to be immediate family. You should be thinking about, you know, what are the values that you want to raise your child with and you know, if you have a friend that is going to be able to provide the kind of life you want for your child.

JOHNER REIHL: Yeah and if they already have six or seven kids, what’s another one?

MICHELLE BURTON: Exactly, they might need a bigger car so you might leave a life insurance policy to take care of that.

JOHNER REIHL: Sunny, you are going to be … everyone is going to just had you because …

[Everybody Laughs]

JOHNER REIHL: Because she has four kids. But so like when you make a will though with your baby, other people are also doing it so they can make sure that all their stuff goes to their baby as well.

MICHELLE BURTON: Yeah, okay, so there is a will and then there is what is called a trust. And those are two different things. So a will, when you have a will you still have to go through probate which can be a long, expensive process. A will is good if you don’t have a lot of assets, right, you don’t have a lot of property so you are just talking about kind of guardianship issues and minimal property and you are not, things won’t get tied in the probate court for years; the court’s move is very, very slow pace these days. And then there is another thing and it is called a trust that you can set up and a trust sometimes is preferable so you can take, you can put property in trust and you can take it out at any time.


MICHELLE BURTON: So a trust becomes valid upon creation where as a will is valid only upon your passing. A trust is a document you can set up, you can put your house into it, you can make sure that your life insurance policies go into it. There are a lot of tax consequences.

HADLEY AJANA: Trust is preferable.

MICHELLE BURTON: Yes, exactly. You can avoid by setting up a trust, you know, upon your death so …

JOHNER REIHL: Are those as easy to set up as wills or more complicated?

MICHELLE BURTON: Those are more complicated. You would probably need a lawyer to take that. And it runs somewhere between a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars depending on how much property you have. But the lawyer that would prepare your trust would, you know, update it and you know, take care of other things usually, they will prepare your advance directives and DNRs and all those things that kind of go along with it, thinking and planning about those things.

JOHNER REIHL: Got it. So wills and trusts are, you know, kind of the first thing a lot of people think of and a lot, it is a lot that is revolving around guardianship issues but then also property issues. Do a lot of people do that with babies or do they wait till their kids are a little older?

MICHELLE BURTON: You know, you would think that people would do it sooner but everybody thinks, you know, nothing is going to happen to me and then when things do happen you have to think it is really your family members that have to come in and clean up the mess and figure it out. You know, what happens with the house, what happens, you know, immediately if say you have the family member that wants to take your child but they don’t have the financial ability to do that, you need to make sure that if you have a trust that there is money and your assets are going to be going to take care of the care of your child.

JOHNER REIHL: And so if you only had a will, or if you don’t have a will, like if it happens the day after you die, like that is too late. You are already …

MICHELLE BURTON: You are already going through probate, your money and any assets you have are tied up and then, you know, you don’t make decisions about who gets what. Ultimately it goes through the court and your family members can fight it out and that leads to a lot of disputes that you can avoid by your own planning.

JOHNER REIHL: What are some other legal mistakes that you may be see parents make or is that one of the biggest ones that just not doing anything, just leaving everything the same.

MICHELLE BURTON: Being paralyzed about thinking about the issues and it is really hard to think about those issues when you are trying to think about an exciting time in your life. There are stories of things that go wrong and in birth and then there is no plan on preparing for that and that just, you know, makes a terrible situation even worse than it is. And I think not having a genuine conversation with your spouse as to who would become the guardian of your child in the event that you both pass, so I have friends that could never agree on who would be the guardian of their child and so they have just stopped the will process together.

JOHNER REIHL: Don’t let that hold it up.

MICHELLE BURTON: They got into a big fight, I mean luckily their kids are almost grown and able to take care of themselves but if something would have happen because they never got passed that impasse, you know, I want my brother; I want my sister to become the guardian…

JOHNER REIHL: And what is guardianship mean, I mean they have all the rights of a parent?

MICHELLE BURTON: If you become the legal guardian then you have the rights of the parent but you have to designate that in your will and or … well if you have a trust then you have, they have to file for application for guardianship with courts. They have to file that you say you want to be …

JOHNER REIHL: Right and so it is just a procedure no matter getting it recorded.

MICHELLE BURTON: Exactly, the correct legal paperwork.

JOHNER REIHL: Got it. Well that is a good start to looking at the topic from, you know, planning for horrible situations.

MICHELLE BURTON: Yeah, I know, it is not a very happy topic to talk about but it is a necessary topic.

JOHNER REIHL: Yeah but let’s take a quick break and then we will look at some of the, some situations that may be single, divorced, same sex parents phase or that might affect parents that don’t need a catastrophic event to happen. So we will be right back.

[Theme Music]

JOHNER REIHL: Welcome back everybody to Parent Savers. Today we are talking about the legalities of parenting and rights and responsibilities with Michelle Burton. So are there special issues that single parents need to be tuned into, you know, does guardianship apply there or some other things that we need to consider?

MICHELLE BURTON: Well guardianship definitely apply in that situation because if you are a single parent and you pass then who is going to take care of your parents, aah your child. So you really need to be thinking about guardianship issues, I would probably say, you know, on a bigger scale as who is going to take over because you know, it is not, it is unlikely that both parents are going to pass away, it is less likely than one parent passing away. So then again you need to look at your immediate family, your extended family and good friends that you would want to be the guardian in that situation.

JOHNER REIHL: What other issues, though, do single parents kind of run into that you need to plan for? Do you have any experience with that Hadley?

HADLEY AJANA: Um gosh no. I was primarily concerned with the, who would be the guardian of my child and didn’t want the father, I think by operation of law he would have first choice and I was concerned about what would that be like and so I did talk with a couple of attorneys about if I could sever his rights or you know, what would happen if he showed up suddenly and wanted to be involved. So I went through all that with several different attorneys and then I did talk to two people that I wanted to be the guardian.

You know, they didn’t take it that seriously, I really wanted to have that like really substantial conversation and they were just like nothing is going to happen sure; you know, I really need to know that if something happens you are really going to own this and raise my child and so, I mean that is just, that is not a legal thing, that is a human thing. Just nobody wants to talk about it. And I didn’t want to go to my dad and so, I have, I have gone through all of this since he was born and I have no assets perhaps luckily, so I didn’t … otherwise I would put them in a trust but there is nothing to pass on to my child at this point.

JOHNER REIHL: But as a single parent, like, what do you need legally to be able to sever contact with?

HADLEY AJANA: Oh that was, I went around and around with a couple of attorneys and actually I never got a definitive answer, there are so many things that could happen that would depend and what does the dad been doing, what is he not been doing and who knows at the point, if I would have died ten years from now, who could tell you what would happen between now and ten years, so …

JOHNER RIEHL: But that is an issue of guardianship then but what about now? Are there legal steps that you had to take to kind of, build a wall, to make sure he is …?

HADLEY AJANA: You know, he is not on the birth certificate.

JOHNER RIEHL: So that is the big thing there then.

HADLEY AJANA: And I never sued for paternity, you know.

JOHNER RIEHL: But because he is not in the birth certificate, that’s all of it. Is that it?

ERIN ESTEVES: Well you could still sue for DNA, right?

MICHELLE BURTON: He could, he could. But if the father is on the birth certificate then they are deem to have, you know, certain rights. They can never win physical or legal custody from the mother they’re shown that the mother is a poor mother or has abandoned the child or is incapable of taking care of the child, but being on the birth certificate gives the fathers some rights. The can sue, they can get, you know visitation rights, maybe weekend custody rights, things like that. If they are not on the birth certificate, then that’s create more of a beerier for them, they will have to go trough the whole paternity thing and then the Courts and trying sue to at least get those rights that are already deemed that the father has if they are on the birth certificate.

JOHNER RIEHL: And that can theoretically work the other way too – all those previous comments for they only have to be father on the birth certificate and then ok or anything can happen?

MICHELLE BURTON: Well in the same sex marriages, the father would, you know, be on the birth certificate and then you know that is a very complicated area. The law is still obviously changing right now, because of all the changes going on in the same sex marriages and the legalities involved.

JOHNER RIEHL: But so if couples aren’t married, are they able to both be on the birth certificate or what can the same sex couples do that see adopting or…? What other things they need to think about? There is a lot, right?

MICHELLE BURTON: There is a lot that they need to think about and it depends on how, you know, if you are a lesbian couple versus, you know, a male homosexual couple, you know. Because in the lesbian situations one parent usually gives birth to the child and would be deemed the natural mother of the child and then there would be the secondary parent. But if they are born within a marriage, the couple is married then they are both on the certificate.

Now if they are just domestic partners living together, that’s different. And the father’s situation when there are two men involved in a marriage, obviously one of them is not going to give birth to the child so either they are both adopting and they both become the adopting parents and then there is the issue of who become the primary parent versus the secondary parent. It’s very, very complicated.

ERIN ESTEVES: I can not wait to dig in that one.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah and just at a higher level though, but that’s one of the… If same sex couples were officially married, that would make the process of having kids easier?


JOHNER RIEHL: From a legal prospective?

MICHELLE BURTON: From a legal prospective you are entitled to equal protection under the law so you can’t discriminate against same sex couples that are legally married. They get the same right as heterosexual couples that are legally married. And that would also involve children. But if they are not legally married, like some States haven’t come all the way around yet, that creates a whole other host of issues as if something happens, they want to get divorce, they split up – who is the primary parent and caretaker, yeah.

JOHNER RIEHL: And so there is a lot of work ahead of time just for identifying those issues.

MICHELLE BURTON: If something that you and your partner if you are in a same sex marriage, you need to talk about it, you know, and you need to think about it in a whole other level. You should probably go a get a legal advice on the guardianship issues and things like that, especially if you are a male at a heterosexual couple. That is unmarried, yeah.

JOHNER RIEHL: Ok, so let’s say though for a traditional couple then, you know. Obviously I’m not planning on getting a divorce, don’t think Erin is or anyone in this room is planning.

MICHELLE BURTON: Nobody plans on it.

JOHNER RIEHL: So are there steps that you can take, that we could take or maybe should take now, when everything is great? They would make the process go more smoothly? Even though I can’t imagine if it did happen or if it didn’t, that it wouldn’t go smoothly, but I’m sure nobody does.

ERIN ESTEVES: Oh no! It wouldn’t go smoothly with us, because… Oh yeah!

[Everybody laughs]

ERIN ESTEVES: There is no way! You don’t want to be on my husband’s bad side, that’s all I’m saying.

[Everybody laughs]

MICHELLE BURTON: Well, you know as a layer I always say “Expect the best, but plan for the worst!” Prepare for the worst and you know you need to… Nobody ever plans to get divorced, especially when you are having a baby, you know, that’s a happy time in your life. But things happen in marriages and unless you have a prenup agreement upfront, which most people don’t have, there is not a lot of pre-steps that you can take for planning to get divorced. But if divorce happens and you are going to split up, there are ways that you can do it to make it easier on your children.

They are divorce mediators that couples can go to that are a fraction of the cost of lawyers and they will help you through the process, they will help you fill the paperwork, they will help you with custody issues and deciding on those, they will help with co-parenting issues, because a lot of times both parents still want to be involved and once you have a child with another person, that person is pretty much in your life for the rest of your life, so no matter how bad the emotions are when you are going through a divorce, you need to think about the wellbeing of the child and you know co-parenting strategies and things that you are going to do in that aspect, yeah.

JOHNER RIEHL: Ok. Taking a little bit different tact as far as planning as a parent from e legal prospective, and everything we talk about is planning for the worst, like you said, but what about like for having friends over for play date and like someone gets hurt. What kind of steps you need to take, you know, to protect yourself from that situation.

MICHELLE BURTON: Oh well my son is sitting here and rolling his eyes, because you know we have a zip line on our backyard and we’ve had actually four broken arms on this zip line.

JOHNER RIEHL: How many of them were related to you?

MICHELLE BURTON: None, none were related, but it’s always a friend’s kid or you have a big party for the soccer team and one kid just goes up and you know takes the (inaudible) and then just says “Let’s go” like when they go off the thing, so… Yes, we’ve had sever broken arms, but no one’s ever sued, everybody has homeowner’s insurance that will cover you for an accident. I’ve seen people saying a lot “Oh I want people to sign a release, before they come to my house”.

JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, we had a trampoline when we were growing up and eventually they are like “You got to sign a form if you are going to jump on the trampoline”.

MICHELLE BURTON: Well, one thing that people don’t realize is that there are certain things in you homeowner’s insurance policy that are excluded, specifically excluded and not covered if accident happens, so most homeowner’s policies have “trampoline exclusion”.

JOHNER RIEHL: But not zip like, yeah.

MICHELLE BURTON: Not zip line, yeah, they don’t have a zip line although the zip line is no more, no one can use it anymore after the last incident. Slides are also excluded. Water slides.


MICHELLE BURTON: Yes. So you want to make sure. Most homeowner’s policies either have a slides exclusion or they will say “Ok, you can have a slide, but if any injure occurs on a slide, you are not covered for that injury”, so you need to know.

HADLEY AJANA: I was going to say pools in general just terrify me. Not until I went to law school actually, but after that I was just like… I live in a home with a pool and I have a toddler next door and I never slept, I never slept. And I can imagine being a parent and having a pool and a toddler or inviting little kids over. That would terrify me. I just can not. I would hire a lifeguard and even if he comes up, after I would just be so scared.

MICHELLE BURTON: Because you read all the cases, you know, in law school about incidents in pools. So if you have a pool and you invite little kids over or toddlers, you want to make sure that pool is fenced properly. There are certain alarms that you can have that if anything, you know, with a size of a cat falls into that pool, the alarm is going to go off and you as a parent will be aware and you’ll know. You can have like at my house we have door chains, so if somebody opens that back door out to the pool, I know that that door is open and someone is going out there.

HADLEY AJANA: Well the rate in which kids drown is no joke. You can paranoid in law school yeah, but if you look at the statistics, drowning is very, very dangerous.

MICHELLE BURTON: It is. It is very, very dangerous, and jacuzzis too. Kids tend to overheat, especially young kids and they get dehydrated, so that’s an issue. But as far as getting people to sign releases, you know, accidents happen.

HADLEY AJANA: Are they any good?

MICHELLE BURTON: You know, that’s an interesting question, because I haven’t seen one that’s been challenged, you know, where there has been actually a legal challenge to that. It would be interesting to see if the parent could actually wave. I assume that it probably would apply, I mean if you had it drafted properly, then they‘d have to prove that you were grossly negligent, tat you were aware that there was something wrong or you had had several injuries or something like that.


[Everybody talks and laughs]

MICHELLE BURTON: My best husband takes out the… He says “Ok we are going to take down the zip line”, but then he puts a slide in the backyard. I can’t win, you know.

JONER RIEHL: I wonder if you could like (inaudible) got into a van and be like “Oh” that maybe you are filling for purposes and you give us the right to do it. Maybe next year home sweet home sign you can out a disclaimer sign “Enter this premises and you’ll be alright!”

MICHELLE BURTON: I’ve actually joked with my friends that in the invitation you “I accept” you know I accept the liability label at the bottom so you acceptance to the invite, you are actually waving your right to anything.

HADLEY AJANA: Yeah, that’s a great idea.

MICHELLE BURTON: You know like there is this claims that Apple puts on the iPhone and nobody reads.

[Everybody talks]

JOHNER RIEHL: So alright. What do you think of (inaudible), and it could be something of what we already talked about, what’s the most important thing parents need to know from e legal perspective about having kids and preparing?

MICHELLE BURTON: I think planning. Just planning, planning, planning and you know, trying to think about the issues of… You know, guardianship is just a huge issue. And will give you peace of mind, it will give your spouse peace of mind. It will force issues to the forefront of, you know, maybe disagreement between you and your spouse about how you want your kids raised and you know, who do you think would be the best person to do that if you weren’t around.

HADLEY AJANA: Yeah, and if I had any money, I would be worried about a trust, I don’t, but that’s important. My mom recently died and I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if I had to drag to probate, explain where stuff went and it’s just no fun. It’s really a loving thing that you can do for you family.


ERIN ESTEVES: There is one thing also when you do write a will. My dad just experienced that. You have to choose your executor that theoretically will outlive you.

JOHNER RIEHL: Oh that’s right, yeah.

MICHELLE BURTON: Right, yeah, that’s right.

JOHNER RIEHL: My parents had this conversation and they were like “Don’t get mad, we made your sister the executor” and I’m like “Dude, I’m not mad at all”.

MICHELLE BURTON: But the executor probably shouldn’t be the guardian of your child, right, because you want to have the checks and balances, the executor is the person that sorts of holds the purse strains if you do have money and that way the guardian can, you know, just get all the money, well the money that you’ve left for the befit of your child. And same if you a trust and you have somebody that is the trustee and then you have the executor and you have the beneficiary, so… There are level of check and balances.

JOHNER RIEHL: And the other thing I’ve learned is just write whatever you want in an envelope, seal it and this all.

[Everybody laughs]

JOHNER REIHL: That is basically what you have said.

[Everybody laughs]

MICHELLE BURTON: Yes. In a pinch, I don’t, you know, no attorney would really recommend that but it does show your testamentary intent and it is still a valid document in California.

JOHNER REIHL: Well thanks so much for these tips, thanks for joining us today. For more information for our listeners about legalities of parenting or anything we talked about visit our episode page on our website. We would actually going to continue the conversation for members of our Parent Savers Club after the show. We will discuss a new trend we have heard about in custody situations where the kid stays in the same house and the parent travels back and forth and just talk about legal, what legal ramifications are that. So for more information about how to join our Parent Savers Club so you can access that content and other bonus content from the rest of our shows, please visit our website

[Theme Music]

BRIAN MILLER: Hello Parent Savers, I am Brian Miller, I own Geppetto’s Toy Stores in San Diego. Thanks for listening; today we are going to talk about toys for your brand new little ones from birth to six months old. At that age a child’s field of vision is very small, seven to ten or twelve inches so that is why high contrast toys are really important, black and white at first, even red and blue, things with very high contrast that a child can see.

Things with sounds, a sound motivates a child to move their head to listen; hearing is really developed once a child is born so even those light gentle sounds that a toy might make or a music box might make, really motivates your child to turn his head which works the neck muscles. Things with texture and sound; I have a baby toy here that has a crinkling noise and once the child does that, they are going to see the cause and effect of what happens and also turn their head and move, things that are easy to grasp for a little one.

At that age – zero to three-four-five months a child is using their whole hand to grasp the toys so you want to make sure that it is something easy for them to grasp, a rattle with a big loop isn’t easy thing to grasp. We sell quite a few toys that almost look like atoms where their big holes in between the pieces and a child can put their whole arm in there and shake it and make the toy move. Those are excellent toys for newborns, you want to give a child a whole bodywork out meaning when they are on their back playing with a gym and toys above their head, they are moving all their arms and their legs and they are seeing what is above them and moving their neck.

All of those develop muscles and motor skills, those are excellent; even tummy time, mirrors, when a child sees their face in the mirror; that is motivating because they see something moving, they don’t know it is their face but they know something over there is moving and that is very attractive. You can visit our website for more information or for future ideas listen to Parent Savers for more toy tips in the future.

JOHNER REIHL: That wraps up today’s episode of Parent Savers; thanks so much for listening, we appreciate you listening. Don’t forget to check out our sister’s shows Preggie Pals for expecting parents, The Boob Group for moms and dads who breastfeed their babies based on our new headline from today and also Twin Talks for parents of multiples. Next week we are going to be talking about another exciting topic instead of kind of getting our financial house in order; I guess we are going to talk about getting our … emotional, would that be the word; romantic side – that is the word I’m looking for. For our Valentine’s Day show we are going to be talking about ways to spice up your marriage after having kids. So hopefully that doesn’t turn into a little therapy session for me. This is Parent Savers – Empowering New Parents.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.


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