Few Texas parents want to think about how their kids would fare if they lost both parents in an unexpected tragedy. In fact, parents spend so much time organizing and planning every aspect of their beloved children’s lives that they often fail to give any consideration to what might happen to those plans in the event of such a loss. Having a solid estate planning package in place is an excellent way to protect against the worst-case scenario. Getting the job done also delivers a sense of relief and satisfaction, which is well worth the time and effort it takes to put one’s intentions into writing.
Parents should begin by deciding who would raise their kids in the case of a tragic loss. While it’s tempting to just assume that someone would step in and take over, the only way to know for sure is to sit down with the intended guardians and talk about the matter in detail. It’s not a bad idea to designate one or more back-up guardians in the event that the first choice is unable or unwilling to assume those duties if the need should arise.
Creating wills is the next step. Be thoughtful about how assets would be handed down, and make an effort to create a structure that suits both your intentions and the anticipated needs of your children. For example, if a trust seems like the best course of action, think about how those assets would be distributed. Is providing an 18-year-old with a windfall of cash really the responsible thing to do? There are ways to structure trusts so that children inherit assets gradually or at an age when they are more likely to have the maturity needed to make savvy financial decisions.
Working with a skilled estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure that your package covers all the bases. It’s easy to overlook important details, and a professional can catch errors and omissions. Don’t forget that even the most carefully constructed estate plan needs to be periodically reviewed as the years pass to ensure the provisions laid out within still meet your desires and needs. For many Texas parents, getting these matters taken care of is just one more item on the long list of things that parents do to keep their kids safe and secure.