Why Should You Consult an Estate Planning Attorney Before Going On a Vacation?
Your holiday vacation awaits you, but first…
Just before leaving for a relaxing vacation, it is difficult to predict and prepare for emergencies. It is, therefore, essential to make sure that you develop an estate plan for your asset protection and the sake of you and your family. Many Texans, like you, travel every year. And as you prepare for your trip, add one very critical item to your to-do list. That is, to review your estate planning documents.
In Houston, estate planning has frequently become an afterthought in the preparation of a holiday when, in fact, that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, we never know when an accident or a roadside mishap may happen. And when tragedy strikes, you want to make sure that your loved ones are not left confused on how to handle your property. This case is particularly true if you’ve never planned your estate. You can only imagine how much pain it would cause you if you stop and take time to think about it. So, why not call for help from an experienced estate planning lawyer in Houston to ensure all your documents–last wills and trusts, power of attorney, medical derivatives, etc. –are up-to-date? The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, helps clients in estate planning and probate, serving Houston, Tx and providing comprehensive estate planning services for the past 19 years. Keep reading to learn more about which estate planning tasks to complete before you go on your vacation.
Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive
Houston, Tx estate planning includes preparing legal documents that reflect your wishes. Particularly, those concerned with managing your assets after you pass away, financial decisions, and health care.
The Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Derivative are estate planning documents that contain your health care and financial decisions. Both records come into effect while you’re alive, but only if you cannot make your own decisions.
You should prepare a General Power of Attorney or Specific Power of Attorney if you plan to live abroad for a while and want someone to manage your finances while you’re out of town. These documents require you to appoint a trusted person, such as your spouse, parents, adult children, or any sibling, to manage your finances while you’re away.
The General Power of Attorneys and the Specific Power of Attorneys both have different purposes. The General Power of Attorney allows you to nominate someone to manage all of your assets and finances while you are away and mentally capable. On the other hand, use a Specific Power of Attorney when you want to appoint someone to do a particular task. People often make use of these while they’re not in town. But, they have to be mentally capable, nonetheless. Everyday use involves things like selling a house or paying bills. A Power of Attorney sets the time frame for which it becomes effective. And if you become incapable of making decisions for yourself, a Power of Attorney expires. In this case, it means that your appointed estate planning attorney can’t act for you anymore.
Even if you’ve already followed the law and estate planning, most packages from an estate planning lawyer do not include a selection for a health care decision-maker for minor children, unless the client specifically requests it. They are not usually done in the course of law and estate planning package.
Some areas to discuss of Texas estate planning (especially with minor children) are as follows:
- Medical Power of Attorney Designation for Minor Children;
- Appointment of a Guardian for Minor Children;
- Medical Power of Attorney for you;
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney for you; and
- Last Will & Testament for you (which includes living trusts for children under a certain age).
Wills: Key to Travel Estate Planning
Your Will expresses your final wishes concerning your property’s distribution. After you pass away, your Will takes effect and guarantees to manage your estate according to your preferences. While everyone is encouraged to make a Will, it’s especially important to make one if you have dependents, such as minor children or a spouse. If you also own a business and require business succession planning or you want to give specific items to certain individuals, it is also essential to have a Will.
If you already have a Will, check and update it every time your family has a significant life event. Including things like marriage, remarriage, divorce, births, or deaths. Besides, if your finances change or an executor can no longer serve, update your legal documents.
Assign Guardianship for Minor Children
If you have minor children, you must complete or update your Will to name your appointed guardian that will take care of your children in case something is going to happen to you. If you have already selected a guardian, consider whether or not he or she is still able to serve. Also, note whether he or she is the best choice considering the age of your child. Failure to have a proper guardian in your Will may result in the court appointing a guardian without your admission. If you are traveling without your minor children, you should select a temporary legal guardian to decide for your children in case of an emergency.
Plan for the Future
Completing or updating your estate planning documents must be on your to-do checklist. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Proper estate planning takes time. You might rush to get your documents in order, which often results in not addressing the ‘bigger picture.’ You may also acquire higher legal fees to speed up your records. So make sure you set aside enough time to talk to your loved ones about estate planning.
Organize Your Estate Planning Documents and Make Them Accessible
Not only is it crucial to keep your original travel estate planning documents in a secure location, but your loved ones also need to know where they are. A copy for specific documents, like the Personal Directive and Powers of Attorney, should be given to your agents and estate planning lawyer in Houston, Tx. Moreover, your loved one should also need access to your original Will.
Just think about what a nightmare it would be if your daughter or son broke his or her arm while you were gone. And then there was no one around who could sign a form of surgical consent so the orthopedist surgeon could operate immediately. That would cut off most vacations short and cost you extra money — money that you were planning to spend on holiday.
Our Texas board-certified and experienced estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, generally provides clients a health care power of attorney for minor children, which is effective immediately. You can even place an expiry date on it, so it terminates when you get back home. Estate planning lawyers skilled in advanced planning strategies prepare these just like at Troy M. Moore’s Law Firm, PLLC.
As mentioned above, a power of attorney can be made for both financial and medical conditions, for both you and your dependent minor child. And if the greatest disaster has occurred and both of you have dies in a terrible accident, you must ask yourself:
- Did I appoint a guardian for my minor children?
- Would my parents and my spouse’s parents disagree about who should be the guardian of the minor children?
- Were my minor children designated as beneficiaries on my life insurance policies and IRAs or 401(k)s? If so, that creates a massive issue of guardianship.
- Who is in charge of all the money from my estate, and will they spend it the way I desire?
All these things require you to have in place a Last Will & Testament just in case. Every Will we do at Troy M. Moore’s Law Office, PLLC establishes a Contingent Trust that places the funds that pass through the Will into a trust for the beneficiary (usually the child). The Trust can be set up to end at a certain age, then terminate gradually over time, or exist throughout their lifetime.
In the case of minor children’s estate planning, it is best to have different people managing the Trust versus being the guardian. This situation is not feasible at times, and the same people are better than no estate plan at all.
Simple Wills are the way to go for most people. But, “simple” doesn’t mean easy. This only means you don’t have to think about the estate tax. As of today, there is no estate tax (or “death tax”) if a married couple has less than $12 million or so. And also, there’s no estate tax in Texas either.
Our Texas attorney at law will help you with your estate planning needs
Estate planning is a vital step for asset protection for the distribution of your estate according to your preferences, and in making sure your loved ones are taken care of. The ever-dedicated Cypress, Tomball, and Northwest Houston, Texas estate planning law attorney at the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, works one-on-one with individuals and families in helping clients with all their needs for estate planning. Do not wait to make these life-changing choices. Call our law office at Cypress Location today at 281-970-8039. Or you can also keep in touch with us online at our law firm’s website to discuss your estate planning options and schedule a free consultation. Our office hours open at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Troy M. Moore is the probate and estate planning lawyer your family needs. You are not alone. We are here to help.
Call or email us today to start the process; we can turn documents around very quickly if we know you’re on vacation. Call or email our law office, and we will send you the Estate Planning Questionnaire. You can send back the completed form by emailing our office. We will get back to you within 24 hours when you are planning your estate at the last minute.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
The next time you make travel plans, take a look at your checklist and spend some time getting all your estate planning documents in order. So you can leave for your trip with a peaceful mind! Do everything you can to keep your estate in the best shape possible for the sake of you and your loved ones!
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