Many young people do not think much about estate planning. But having children makes estate planning an important consideration for any family. Young families with children should consider taking certain steps when going through Houston estate planning.
Basic Estate Planning Needs for Young Families
First, families should sit down with an attorney to write a will. Writing a will ensures that a parent decides who property and assets will go to in the event of the parent’s death. Writing a will is particularly important for parents because they need to name a guardian for their children. The guardian is the person who would care for the child or children if both parents were unable to care for their children. In the absence of a named guardian in a will, a court would generally choose a guardian for the children. Having a named guardian ensures that that person is appointed as guardian.
Second, families should write out health care directives, including a medical power of attorney and a living will. Texas’ medical power of attorney allows an individual to name a trusted person as their Health Care Agent, who will make decisions concerning their health care if they cannot do so. Texas’s living will is called a directive to physicians and family or surrogates. This directive allows an individual to specify the type of medical care they want to receive in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition. Texans can also complete out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders and declarations of mental health treatment.
Third, families should complete a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney designates an agent who has the authority to take actions regarding a person’s property and finances. Failing to have a durable power of attorney would require that a court order be issued for another person, including a spouse, to manage personal property and finances.
Fourth, families should purchase life insurance. Life insurance ensures that a family has access to cash for financial support in the event of a family member’s death. The two general types of life insurance are term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life insurance offers insurance for a set time period. In the event of the policy holder’s death during the policy’s term, the policy pays a lump sum to the beneficiaries. Permanent life insurance allows the policyholder to build savings over time, and generally provides coverage for life.
Finally, families should designate beneficiaries for their retirement accounts. This can usually be done by completing a simple form online through one’s policy or through the policy issuer. Designating beneficiaries makes it possible for the funds to go to the designated persons, without going through probate court proceedings.
These are just a few of the steps that young families can take to ensure that future generations are protected. Families with additional questions should reach out to a dedicated estate planning law firm to schedule a consultation.
Peace of Mind for Your Family
If you want to take steps to ensure your family’s well-being in the event of a tragedy, contact a Houston estate planning lawyer. The Houston estate planning law firm of McCulloch & Miller, PLLC offers a holistic approach to estate planning to help families address estate planning, long-term care planning, and tax planning. Their team works to educate families by providing educational workshops and guiding them through planning strategies, including asset protection and retirement planning. Contact McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, at 713-888-8900 to set up an initial consultation or reserve a space at their next complimentary educational workshop.