Estate planning prior to vacation is one thing on your to-do list that should not be overlooked. This is especially true if you have never planned your estate. If you stop and think about it, you can only imagine how much grief it could cause you.
Even if you have already done estate planning, most packages from an estate planning attorney do not contain a designation for a health care decision maker for any minor children unless specifically requested by the client. They are just not normally done in the due course of an ordinary estate planning package.
Some areas of estate planning you should consider addressing (especially with minor kids) are the following:
- Medical Power of Attorney Designation for Minor Children;
- Designation of Guardian for Minor Children;
- Medical Power of Attorney for you;
- Statutor Durable Power of Attorney (i.e. Financial Power of Attorney) for you; and
- Last Will & Testament for you (which contains Trusts for children under a certain age).
Just think about what a nightmare it would be if your son/daughter broke their arm while you were gone. And then nobody was around who could sign a surgical consent form so the orthopedist doctor could operate immediately. That would cut short most vacations and cost you extra money — money that you planned on spending on vacation.
For vacations specifically, I will generally make my clients a health care power of attorney for minor children that is effective immediately. You can even put in an expiration date on it so it expires when you get home. Plan attorneys skilled in more advanced planning prepare these, just like the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC.
As mentioned above, a power of attorney can be set up for both financial and medical situations — both for yourself and your dependent minor child.
And, if the ultimate tragedy happened and you both were killed in a terrible accident you must ask yourself these things:
- Have I designated a guardian for my minor children?
- Will my parents and my spouse’s parents get in to a disagreement over who should be guardian of the minor children?
- Are my minor children designated as beneficiares on my life insurance policies and IRAs or 401(k)s? If so, that creates an incredible guardianship problem.
- Who will be in charge of the money from my estate and will they spend it how I desire?
All of these things call for you to have a Last Will & Testament in place just in case. Every Will we do at the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC sets up a Contingent Trust that places the funds passing through the Will in to a trust for the beneficiary (usually the child). The Trust can be set up to terminate at a certain age, gradually terminate over time, or exist for their lifetime.
In the case of estate planning for minor children, it is best to have different individuals handling the Trust versus being the Guardian. It never hurts to have one hand watching the other. Sometimes this is not feasible and the same individuals are better than no estate plan at all.
For most people, simple Wills are the way to go. But, simple really does not mean simple. It just means that you do not have to worry about the estate tax. As of today, if a married couple has less than $12m or so, there is no estate tax (or “death tax”). Plus, in Texas, there is no estate tax either. Having a simple Will is always better because a complex Will can be more difficult to navigate.
Call or email us today to begin the process; if we know you are going on vacation we can turn the documents around very quickly. Call or email the office and we will send you the Estate Planning Questionnaire. Email the completed form back to our office. We will get a quote to you within 24 hours if you are planning your estate at the last minute.
We look forward to hearing from you!