- Which healthcare documents should be included in your estate plan.
- How estate planning can protect your minor children, and what paperwork you might need as a parent.
- Why you should avoid placing property in a child’s name.
What Healthcare Documents Do I Need To Include In My Estate Plan In Texas?
The basic healthcare documents we include in an estate plan are the medical power of attorney, the advanced directive, and the HIPAA release, which is the privacy provision. We also recommend guardianship appointments.
In many cases, especially if a person is unmarried or has conflict within the family, we will also suggest a document that would appoint an agent to be responsible for your remains. They would be in charge of your body, should you die, as well as how you’re buried and how your remains are handled.
What Planning Documents Do Parents Need In Texas To Protect And Provide For Their Minor Children?
Setting up documents for children is important because a minor cannot own assets. If the children have an inheritance, they cannot own it.
When someone passes without an estate plan, there is nothing set up for their children. In these cases, the court has to get involved, and it is usually a very long and expensive process to set something up to hold money for minor children.
If you create an estate plan in advance, it is essential to have a descendants trust in place that will hold the assets and to put someone else in charge of them until the children come of age. The money can still be used for the children’s benefit. The trustee can pay for:
- And more…
It is important to have someone else in charge of the trust. For one thing, children may not always be as responsible at 18 as we would like them to be. These days, there seems to be a delay where children take a little longer to get launched.
For some children, having access to their full inheritance before they are ready could be damaging. Often, if children inherit a lot of money and they’re not prepared for it, they just spend the whole amount immediately.
With a trust, you can set it up so they receive percentages at certain ages. If they were to waste the first half at age 25, hopefully by the time they reach 30, they will have learned and the second half would be better.
Alternatively, we can put the money in a lifetime trust, where they can learn to be responsible for it over time, perhaps with a co-trustee. They can then take ownership of it at a certain age and control their own money.
You might also need a temporary guardianship document, which appoints a guardian for your child if you’re out of town. Or, you may need a guardianship designation, which appoints someone to raise your child in the event of your death.
If you and your spouse, or the child’s other parent, both passed away, who would take care of your child? Where would they live? Maybe the person you’ve selected does not have the financial ability to take in your children — that’s another thing that should be planned.
You can write a trust that would assist the guardian financially. This could help them buy a bigger house or a bigger car so that the additional children aren’t a financial burden on their family. That way they can focus on raising and being there for your child, rather than struggling to obtain funds to support the additional children.
It can be difficult and overwhelming to think about planning for your child’s future. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that you have everything in place.
Can A Minor Own Property Outside Of A Will Or Trust? Can I Buy A Property And Have It In My Child’s Name?
Because they are not fully adults, minors cannot own property. You can put property in a child’s name, even if they are underage. However, we do not recommend it because of the difficulties it can cause.
A child can be added to the deed, but issues arise if you ever want to sell the property. The child cannot sign to sell it, and even if you are the parent, you are not the legal guardian who can sell their assets. This situation can cause enormous problems.
We had a client who put his eight-year-old child on the title of his house. Later, he and his wife wanted to sell the house, but no one could sign for the child. They had to go through the courts and have a guardian appointed to sign for the child.
Additional issues can arise when the property has been gifted, and a percentage of it belongs to the child. If one-third of the estate belongs to the child, then one-third of the estate has to be put in the registry of the court until that child comes of age. Because of these complications, it is generally a terrible idea to put property in a minor’s name.
For more information on Healthcare Related Estate Planning Documents, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 355-0155 today.