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This article provides information of a broad general nature only. The information contained in this article does not constitute legal or tax advice.
If you are part of the majority of parents, you still have not prepared a Will, a medical or financial power of attorney, or a living will (directive to physicians). You probably haven’t named who would be the guardian of your child and you probably haven’t created a trust for your child in the event you pass away before your child is old enough or responsible enough to handle money. If you do have this essential planning, are you keeping it up-to-date? Not only could your personal circumstances change, but the law changes as well. If you are indeed in this group, you need to start asking yourself some important questions, such as:
With a properly written, Texas-specific Will, you can provide for your family in the manner that you see fit, not in accordance with a court that does not know your personal circumstances. Through your Will, you can determine the guardian of your children as well as set up trusts for your children. Additionally, there are a number of other planning options you have beyond your Will that are essential in protecting your family from prolonged court battles and excessive costs during a time when they are suffering a great loss. The following are explanations of some of the planning tools that you may want to consider:
A Directive to Physician is the Texas document that is commonly referred to as a living will. This document instructs physicians to withhold or administer artificial life-sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal condition.
A Medical Power of Attorney designates an agent to make medical decisions if you are unable to make them.
A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (or financial Power of Attorney) designates an agent to make financial decisions and control property on your behalf. For example, if you are in an accident and are in the hospital, your agent could help pay your bills and manage your financial affairs in your absence.
A HIPAA Release Authority is a document that specifies who may have access to your medical records. For example, most clients will name the same individuals as in their Medical Power of Attorney so that they may have access to your medical records if they have to make medical decisions on your behalf.
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PART I: Did you know without a will…
PART II: Not All Wills Are Created Equal
PART III: Do You Need a Living Trust?