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14 Free Tools for Children and Pets

1.  Emergency Information and Instructions
In the event of a sudden illness or emergency of a parent with minor children, instructions should be readily available to allow those you designate to immediately locate and care for all minor children, to call everyone on an emergency contact list, etc.

2.  Permission for Others to Care for Your Child(ren) During an Absence, Illness or EmergencyIt is especially important that single parents specify in writing who they want to care for their children in an emergency and to provide them with written permission to temporarily undertake their care. On this form you will see references to other forms we recommend that you complete. Click on the titles in blue and you will be taken to that form.

3.  Temporary Child Care Instructions (Babysitting or Short Term Relief for Primary Care Giver(s)It’s important that those giving care to ill or disabled children be able to take a break on a regular basis and these instructions allow them to turn over care to others for a period of time. These instructions are also great for use for babysitters for your children.

4.  Detailed Child Care InstructionsIf you are the primary caregiver of a disabled or chronically ill child or are a single parent, it is essential that you maintain detailed care instructions for each child in case you are suddenly unable to care for your child or children for some period of time.

5.  Permission to Direct and Approve Medical Treatment of a ChildWhoever you have designated to care for your children in your absence or illness needs to have the ability to seek medical treatment for your children if necessary while in their care.

6.  Permission to Obtain Medical Records of a ChildThere may be times when you want doctors, hospitals, medical personnel, etc. to share information with one or more individuals who aren’t responsible for your child’s medical care. This written authorization is needed for friends, family members, or others to pick up test results for your child, pick up prescriptions or discuss the prescriptions with the pharmacist, get a medical update should your child be in the hospital, etc.

7.  Permission for Others to Have Access to Matters Related to EducationIf you want to be able to have access to your adult child's educational records including grades, class schedules, housing, etc. (especially if you are paying for any part of their expenses) you must have their written permission.

8.  Permission for Others to Travel with your ChildFor someone other than a custodial parent to take your child out of town (especially on a plane or out of the country) - even another family member - your written permission is required.

9.  Important Pet InformationIt’s especially important if you are the sole “pet parent” to maintain updated information about each of your pets in the event of your sudden death or sudden accident or illness which keeps you from sharing this information with whomever you’ve chosen to care for them when you can’t. This information includes not only diet, medical, and other basic information about your pet(s) but also any behavior or other considerations that may be unique to your pet(s) and affects their well being.

10.  Permission for Others to Seek Treatment for your Pet(s)Those you choose to care for your pet(s) in your absence need the owner’s written permission to renew any prescriptions or seek medical treatment.

11. Pet Care InstructionsFor others to care for your pet(s), they need to know what and when they eat, their exercise schedule, sleeping arrangements, medication instructions, etc.

12.  Permission for Others to Care for Pet(s) During Your Absence, Illness or EmergencyUse this form to designate who you want to care for your pet(s) in an emergency or crisis.

13.  Designation for Long Term Care of Pet(s)The same person that you may want to care for your pet(s) during a short terms emergency or crisis may not be the same person that you would want to care for them for a longer period of time – or who is willing to care for them for a longer period of time. The same person that you may want to care for your pet(s) during a short terms emergency or crisis may not be the same person that you would want to care for them for a longer period of time – or who is willing to care for them for a longer period of time

14.  Ownership of Pet(s) Upon DeathThis is a MUST for all pet owners. Sudden death of a pet owner all too often results in a beloved pet ending up in an animal shelter or even being put to death. Decide who you want to care for your pet(s) after your death, talk to them, get their agreement, fill out this form and then give them a copy.View


Although none of the above tools are legal documents, it’s possible that someone may ask you to include a notary with one of the completed forms for their records. Just print out the notary form, attach it to the completed but unsigned forms and take to a notary for you both to sign.  View

  • Today's privacy laws prohibit anyone, even your spouse, from getting access to personal information that may be needed to help in an emergency unless they have your written permission.
  • In a medical emergency, information regarding current prescriptions, any known health conditions, the names of your doctors, known allergies, etc. must be immediately available to medical personnel.
  • Medical personnel won't search your technical devices for medical information nor will medical facilities allow the use of a flash drive or similar device with their computers due to concerns over possible viruses infecting their system.
  • Once your children become 18, you no longer have access to any of their medical, financial, college, insurance or other information without their written permission even if you still provide their insurance and pay some or all of their bills.
  • People who live alone are particularly vulnerable when the unexpected happens unless they have put into writing the information, instructions, and authorizations that allow others to help manage their medical care, finances, household matters, pets, children and all other important components of their life until the emergency passes.

It's easy to create an Emergency Backup Plan for you and your family. Take the following steps to enable you and your family to be better prepared to assist one another when the unexpected happens:

Review the tools and select those that are most appropriate for your life and circumstances. BE SURE TO COMPLETE AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL INFORMATION FORM FOR EACH ADULT AND CHILD IN YOUR FAMILY.

Complete the forms you have chosen. If you completed the forms on your computer, save them on your computer, print out a copy so it can be immediately accessible if needed, and give or email a copy of those forms you want to share with others. If you completed the forms by hand, you may want to scan them so you can save a copy to your computer, iPad, phone or other electronic devices. You may also want to scan any signed, completed forms into one or more of your electronic devices so you'll have a backup copy to the original if needed as well as to make it easier to share with others, including any third parties who require signed authorizations to share information, etc.

Give a copy of the completed forms to those you have chosen to undertake specific responsibilities on your behalf in case of an accident or emergency so they are prepared to immediately follow your directives. For example, give a copy of Pet Care Information and Instructions, Permission for Others to Seek Medical Treatment for your Pets and all other relevant forms to whomever you want to care for your pet(s) in an emergency. When it comes to sensitive financial and similar information, you may prefer to keep that information private unless something happens that requires others to have access to this information. Place this private information in a safe place with your other important papers and tell one or more trusted individuals where this information can be found with instructions to access it only in an emergency or whatever other stipulations you set. If you place the originals of these sensitive forms in a safety deposit box, be sure and keep copies somewhere that can be immediately accessible in an emergency and tell one or more trusted individuals where they can be found.

Complete an Emergency Contact Card and carry it with you in your wallet or billfold so emergency personnel know whom to contact in an emergency. Make certain at least one person named on the card knows where they can find your Emergency Back Up Planner and completed forms so the information, instructions, and authorizations needed to care for you and your life is immediately available until the crisis has passed.

Click Here To Download & Create a Free Emergency Notification Card for Your Wallet 
(Courtesy of Virginia Tech)


  • When selecting individuals to undertake various responsibilities, don't over-burden any one person and make your selections based upon the capabilities of those being selected. For example, the person most appropriate to care for your children, pets, and household responsibilities may not be the best person to oversee your finances, or medical matters. Remember, it's not a popularity contest, make choices based upon the capabilities of the individuals, and their concurrence with the decisions you expect them to make on your behalf.
  • Complete and print out emergency medical information for each family member so it's immediately available in a medical emergency. Most hospitals and medical facilities won't allow you to provide your medical history/information contained in a flash drive, CD, or other USB devices because of their concern viruses could contaminate their network.
  • You may want to give copies of some of your completed forms to those you have chosen to assist you and your family in an emergency. Pick and choose which matters you want to keep private, except in a crisis, and share information and instructions for more practical matters so everyone will know what's expected of them when the unplanned takes place.