Guardianship in a Will
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For parents of minor children, the ability to name a guardian is one of the most important components of a will. In Texas, you can use a will to nominate a personal guardian, who will be responsible for raising your children in the event of your death. Although this guardianship will be ultimately determined by the court, they will generally follow your wishes unless they are not in the best interests of your child.
Although it seems simple enough to name a guardian in a will, the stakes are extremely high. For this reason, you should always seek counsel from an experienced McKinney estate planning attorney who can ensure that your wishes are properly expressed in your will. When you retain Willingham & Galvan, you can trust that our seasoned legal team will work to protect you and your family’s interests.
It’s never too early to start the estate planning process. Call our firm today for a case evaluation.
Are There Different Types of Guardians?
In Texas, there are essentially two types of guardians – those who are responsible for raising your children, and those who are responsible for managing your property. Although these are often the same person, some people wish to separate the two for a variety of reasons. To avoid conflicts, it’s highly recommended that both parents to name the same guardian.
- The personal guardian will take responsibility if both parents die, are incapacitated, or otherwise become unable to care for their children. This guardian will maintain responsibility for the children until they turn 18.
- The property guardian, trustee, or custodian will be responsible for the property which you have left to your children until they are legal adults at 18 years of age. Although these terms refer to roles with similar responsibilities, they are distinct. A McKinney estate planning lawyer can learn about your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.
In typical cases, a custodian will be named to manage the children’s inheritance until they turn 18. This is an acceptable option if you have a guardian you can trust, but the ideal method would be to set up an individual trust for each child. A McKinney estate planning attorney can actually help you use your will to create such a trust, and to name a trustee who will manage it until the child reaches a specified age. This is one of the biggest advantages of a trust, as you can prevent your child from receiving their full inheritance on the day they turn 18.
If you have multiple children, you can instead set up a “pot trust,” which is simply one trust for all of your children. This arrangement does give the trustee more responsibility, as they will decide what each child needs and will spend the money accordingly.
Having trouble deciding on a guardian? Our attorneys can help you understand what to look for. Contact our firm today for seasoned counsel.
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