Developing an estate plan is an important step as you accumulate assets, and particularly once you have children. In the case that something unexpected happens to you and the other parent, you want to be sure that you have a plan in place so your children can have the best outcome after your passing or incapacitation.
There are other considerations you will want to be aware of as well if you have a special needs child that requires additional or lifelong care. Choosing someone to manage his or her physical and financial well–being is critical to future security and stability.
If your child will need a guardian after you die, you can arrange a guardianship with the court. You can assign a guardian for the child as well as someone to manage your estate and finances for him or her.
There are some laws regarding who you can and cannot name as guardian. Generally, the person must be able to put the best interests of your child first, and he or she cannot have any history of abuse or neglect. He or she must also have some knowledge to successfully manage the estate. The financial guardian can be an institution or lawyer trained and experienced in managing the assets you leave behind.
Develop a guardianship
Generally, to ensure your guardianship follows Texas rules and regulations, have a lawyer guide you through the process. You can either put your guardianship in your will or create a separate declaration of guardianship document. Be sure to name alternative individuals in the case the person you name does not qualify or dies; otherwise, the court will appoint someone at its discretion.
Power of attorney
There are two types of powers of attorney that you can either designate to one individual or multiple, to provide your child or yourself with certain protections.
- Durable power of attorney: Gives authority to the assigned agent to manage your child’s property on his or her behalf
- Medical power of attorney: Gives authority to the assigned agent to make health care decisions in your child’s best interest; your child retains the option to revoke his or her power regardless of mental state
The sooner you can set your estate plan up with provisions for the care of your special needs child, the sooner you can have peace of mind that he or she is safe no matter what happens to you. Be sure that your documents follow Texas laws fully, so the court accepts them as legitimate.