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Harlingen Estate Law Blog

Why parents of the disabled should consider special needs trusts

While not everyone who works on an estate plan will need a trust, or a specific fiduciary arrangement that allows a third-party trustee to hold on to assets on behalf of someone else, as a parent of the disabled, you very well might. Providing a lifetime of care for your child, whether he or she has autism, Down syndrome or another type of disability, can prove extremely expensive.

A special needs trust is one way to help safeguard your disabled child’s future while doing your part to ensure your child has everything he or she needs after your passing.

3 important estate planning steps for new parents

If you recently had your first baby or are planning to have one in the near future, your mind may be racing with questions. Will you be a good parent? Will labor and delivery go smoothly? Have you done everything necessary to protect your new or future offspring?

As a new parent, you may worry more about whether your child is getting enough sleep or food than whether you have all your estate planning ducks in a row - but that does not make the process of doing so any less important. As a new parent, there are three particularly important estate planning steps you can take that can protect your children and prevent unnecessary problems and expenses down the line. More specifically, as a new parent, it is important that you:

The difference between a durable and medical power of attorney

As you age and begin creating your estate plan, one of the things you may want to consider is who you want to grant power of attorney in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to clearly express your wishes on your own. Often, the person you choose for this role is someone in your own family, but this does not have to be the case as long as you appoint someone you believe you can rely on to make decisions based on your best interests.

There are two main types of power of attorney; a durable power of attorney for finances and a medical power of attorney.

3 things to include in your business succession plan

You may have all your personal estate planning complete, but have you planned for your exit of the family business? Do not just assume that you can leave it to a family member or sell it to a new owner and all will be well. No matter the exit strategy you choose, you need to have a plan for it.

However, do you know what a business succession plan entails besides naming a successor? Here are just three of the many things to include in your plan to ensure the continued success of your business.

What does breach of fiduciary duty mean in estate administration?

The purpose of an estate plan is to ensure the proper handling of a decedent's or incapacitated person's assets. When an appointed person does not fulfill relevant duties or, worse, mismanages the assets for personal gain, it is a breach of fiduciary duty.

Understanding the laws concerning a breach can help you determine if it applies to the estate management of a loved one so you can take corrective legal action against the violator.

How to establish a guardianship in Texas

An important aspect of estate planning to consider is guardianship. It is not only relevant to those with minor children or adult children with special needs. It can also be relevant to you if you become incapacitated and want to ensure the right person is making medical and/or financial decisions for you.

The most straightforward way is to name the person you want to become guardian in your will (and even naming anyone whom you do not want). However, if you do not do this, the legal process for appointing a guardianship if necessary is as follows.

What information should you provide in your medical directive?

A medical directive is a document that outlines your wishes with regard to health care. It provides direction to medical professionals regarding your treatment in the event you are unable to speak communicate. In addition to giving physicians an idea about your treatment preferences, medical directives can also help your family make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

What you decide to ultimately include on your medical directive is a personal matter, and will likely differ from what, say, your husband, wife or close friend will include on theirs. However, there are some common items many people choose to:

How power of attorney differs from conservatorship & guardianship

At some point in your life, there may come a time when someone asks you to serve as a fiduciary, someone with some type of decision-making power, on their behalf. Different roles might include that of a power of attorney, a guardian or a conservator. Understanding the distinctions between them can help you better understand your position and the types of responsibilities that might come with it.

If someone you love wants you to be able to make decisions on his or her behalf, you may be able to do so if they give you power of attorney. You may also be able to do so if you serve as a guardian or conservator, although there is an important distinction: the elder or otherwise incapacitated person names his or her own power of attorney, while a court appoints someone a guardian or conservator.

Things to consider when choosing a legal guardian for your child

If you have minor children and are beginning the estate planning process, you should think about guardianship. Your children should have a legal guardian in the event you die while they are still minors. You might have trouble deciding between family members and friends. How do you choose the right person?Everyone has their pros and cons, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind. Read below for some things to consider while choosing a guardian for your children.

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Mccullough & Mccullough

Serving South Texas For Three Generations

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323 E. Jackson Street
Harlingen, TX 78550

Phone: 956-320-1320
Fax: 956-423-4976
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