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Harlingen Estate Law Blog

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?

3 ways to transfer a family business

If you run a family business, you might want it to continue after you pass away. To ensure your business succeeds once you are gone, you must create a succession plan. This is an essential part of estate planning for any business owner. 

Planning how your company will continue is crucial to protecting the wealth of your family. There are a few different ways you can transfer the business, and here are some of the most common methods:

Named as a trustee? Here is a quick guide

Did someone just designate you as a trustee? If so, you probably have plenty of questions. As a trustee, you are legally responsible for handling any assets that are in the trust.

It is crucial to understand your responsibilities as a trustee so you can act in the best interest of the grantor (the person who set up the trust and named you as trustee). Here is a quick guide to being a trustee.

Sole proprietors and transferring a family business

As a sole proprietor, you likely spent a good deal of time, energy and effort to build and grow your business. Perhaps you are nearing the time other people retire, so it is natural to think about long-term plans for your business. Or maybe you are younger and heard about someone who got seriously hurt or killed in a car accident. What would happen to your business if you were involved in a similar accident?

One key thing to understand is that you at least need a will. This is because sole proprietors' business assets are treated the same as if they were personal assets. Die without a will, and your business could end up with someone you would rather not have it.

3 signs you should update your estate plan

If you already have an estate plan, congratulations! That is an important step that many people procrastinate for decades. However, even though this achievement is complete, remember you need to check up on it every now and then. 

Your life changes a lot over the years. You want your estate plan to reflect your shifting circumstances. It is crucial to consider whether you need to adjust your estate plan. Here are some signs you need to review it. 

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:

Mccullough & Mccullough

Serving South Texas For Three Generations

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Harlingen, TX 78550

Phone: 956-320-1320
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