Se habla español 956-320-1320
Practice Areas

Harlingen Estate Law Blog

4 signs your will may be out of date

Have you ever stood in front of your refrigerator and carefully examined the expiration date on a carton of milk? Even if the date had passed, did you sniff the carton and make your own assessment of your milk’s freshness? Like the milk in your refrigerator, your last will and testament may have effectively expired. 

Because thinking about death can be uncomfortable, many Texans put off writing a will. Once you finish the task, it may be tempting to never think about the document again. Unfortunately, if you fail to regularly ensure your will continues to reflect your wishes, you may miss the mark. Here are four signs your will may be out of date. 

3 reasons to update your estate plan during the holidays

The winter holiday season is the perfect time to update your estate plan. During this time of year, you reflect on what is most meaningful in your life. You also deal with some stressful circumstances during the holidays. 

It is vital to review and revise your estate plan on a regular basis, so why not start now? Here are some reasons why the holiday season should motivate you to ensure your estate planning documents are up to date.

Key elements of an estate plan as a parent

As a parent, you want to provide for your children in the best way possible. A proper estate plan may help you in providing for and protecting them beyond your lifetime, and throughout the rest of their own.

An estate plan can be comprised of several different documents. There are three key elements to incorporate into a successful plan.

What to do when it is too late for a power of attorney

It is paramount for people to make a durable and medical power of attorney when they are still young and all their mental faculties are intact. A power of attorney will give someone else the power to make medical and financial choices for you when you cannot make them independently. In the event that you delay making a power of attorney, then at some point, it may become too late. The process becomes much harder when a person loses his or her cognitive functions without a power of attorney in place. 

It is never too early to give someone power of attorney. In fact, you can help circumvent headaches down the line by giving a loved one, such as a spouse or child, this designation well before you actually need it. 

What if your parents have too many assets for Texas Medicaid?

Reaching the point when you and your parents know they need long-term care outside the home can be very difficult and emotional. You want the best for your parents in these final years of their lives, and trying to find a place that meets all your criteria is no small challenge, especially when you have a price range. Genworth Financial reports that the 2017 median cost of one month at an assisted living facility in Texas was $3,500. A semiprivate room in a Texas nursing home was $4,563.

Those who have low income qualify for financial assistance through Medicaid programs in Texas. What if your parents are above the maximum income and have too many assets for Medicaid but still not enough means for the expense of long-term care?

3 tips for guardianship duties

If you have an elderly parent who is no longer able to manage his or her affairs, and he or she did not appoint a power of attorney when there was still time to do so, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. This is a time when guardianship may be an option, so you can help your parent manage his or her affairs in a competent and responsible way, despite the fact that he or she is no longer personally able to do so.

The court has to order a guardianship, in which you then supervise your parent's affairs and make decisions on his or her behalf, including financial and health care decisions. Gaining guardianship is a process you can do through seeking the assistance of an estate planning attorney. Here are three tips that guardians should keep in mind.

How to determine if your parents might need a power of attorney

It is never easy to see your parents age. If everything went as you hope, your parents would stay sharp and healthy until their dying day. Unfortunately, it does not always go this way for Texas senior citizens. Numerous age-related cognitive and physical conditions may make it difficult or impossible for your parents to take care of themselves or make sound financial decisions.

Therefore, you might wonder about the best time to consider a power of attorney. This type of estate planning gives a trusted representative the authority to make financial, medical or physical decisions on behalf of the elder. The following situations might signal it is time to consider a power of attorney:

  • Your parents have fallen prey to common scams targeting the elderly that they would not ordinarily have been fooled by, such as a false IRS phone call or a sweepstakes “win” that requires money up front.
  • One or both parents received a diagnosis of a cognitive disorder, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A doctor has said your parent may be at risk of a stroke.

How to know if you should serve as a parent's guardian

Many fine people in Texas work as guardians. People who wish to become guardians must go through a thorough vetting process and must submit an application. Guardians receive assignment for children, senior citizens and anyone who is not of sound mind to make important financial and health decisions. 

Although the court can appoint someone to serve as a guardian for your aging parents, you may decide it is best if you serve as a guardian. While it is a noble decision to make, being a guardian comes with numerous responsibilities. You need to be certain you are up to the task if you want to become a guardian. You can certainly make sure your parents are safe and happy while someone else handles most of the heavy lifting. 

What you are expected to do as executor of an estate

If someone has named you the executor of his or her estate, it is a good idea to know what the expectations are before you decide whether to accept or decline the job. Serving as executor of a complex estate can be time-consuming, stressful and frustrating. Even for smaller estates, it can still be a thorny process.

However, many people view the responsibility as more of an honor rather than as an obligation. After all, you were trustworthy enough to be tapped to distribute the deceased's assets in the way he or she wanted. So, what could be in store for you?

Mccullough & Mccullough

Serving South Texas For Three Generations

Office Location

323 E. Jackson Street
Harlingen, TX 78550

Phone: 956-320-1320
Fax: 956-423-4976
Harlingen Law Office Map

Google Map