Estate Planning is more than just the drafting of a Will – it is also the drafting of documents to protect you and your family in case of incapacity. Incapacity under the law is defined as “an adult who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to: (a) provide food, clothing, or shelter for themselves; (b) care for the person’s own physical health: or (c) manage the person’s own financial affairs”.
A complete Estate plan includes a Will with a Contingent Trust (WCT), a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA), a General Power of Attorney (POA), Guardians for your Children (GC) Guardians in case of Later Incapacity (GLI), HIPPA Release of Medical Information (HIPPA), and Agent for Appointment of Remains (AAR).
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT WITH A CONTINGENT TRUST
A Will is a legal document regarding the distribution of your property after your death. A contingent trust (also known as a testamentary trust) is a trust created in your will that goes into effect only (1) after your death, and (2) under circumstances specified in your Will. A contingent trust is frequently used to appoint a trustee to manage and distribute assets used for the comfort, care, and education of minor children or grandchildren until those beneficiaries have attained a specified age. However, a contingent trust does not avoid probate, and will not supersede beneficiary designations on your financial accounts, retirement assets, or life insurance.
TEXAS DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
A durable power of attorney gives you the power to appoint a trusted family member or friend as an agent to manage your finances if you are no longer capable of managing them yourself, such as if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. A Power of Attorney is an alternative to the creation of a guardian of an estate. To be valid, a durable power of attorney must be signed and acknowledged by a notary.
TEXAS MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
A medical power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for you in the event you become unconscious or mentally incapable of making those decisions for yourself. Unexpected injuries or illness can occur at any age, so all adults should have one in place. The Medical power of attorney is commonly used as a tool to avoid guardianship of the Person.
TEXAS DIRECTIVE TO PHYSICIANS or ADVANCED DIRECTIVE (AD)
An Advanced Directive is another tool used to avoid guardianship under Texas law. The Advanced Directive allows a person to chose in writing, before the need arises, instructions on the use or withholding of life-sustaining procedures. You may use this documents to specify what types of treatment you may want in case you are not competent to make decisions in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition.
DECLARATION OF APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN FOR CHILDREN IN THE EVENT OF DEATH OR INCAPACITY
The Last surviving parent may direct the appointment of a guardian of a minor upon either death of the parent or the probate’s court’s finding that the surviving parent is an incapacited person. If there is ever a need for your children to have a guardian, the court will use the “best interest of the child” to determine whom your children should live with if you do not appoint a guardian. This documents allows you to pick the guardians for the Estate (financial) and person of each child. Moreover, you can specifically name the people NOT TO BE APPOINTED AS EITHER THE GUARDIAN OF YOUR CHILD’S ESTATE OR PERSON. Only one person can be appointed as guardian of the person or estate unless they are a married couple. Joint guardians may only be appointed if it is in the best interest of the ward.
A HIPAA authorization allows you to name an individual who can have access to your medical information so that your health care provider or insurance company have no reservations about sharing medical information with those whom you have authorized.
DECLARATION OF GUARDIAN IN THE EVENT OF LATER INCAPACITY OR NEED OF GUARDIAN
A Pre-Need Designation of Guardian allows an adult with capacity to choose a person to serve as guardian in the event they later become incapacitated. Moreover, you can specifically name the people NOT TO BE APPOINTED AS EITHER THE GUARDIAN OF YOUR ESTATE OR PERSON.
APPOINTMENT OF AGENT TO CONTROL DISPOSITION OF REMAINS
Texas requires that the agent be appointed in a written document. When an agent is not appointed, family generally controls the remains.
For more information, visit www.dvorahlaw.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 512-897-7641.