You Should Include Plans For Guardians in Your Estate Plan

We always want to make sure that our loved ones will be cared for, and designating guardians in your estate plan will help you achieve that goal. A guardian is one or two people who will become caregivers for yourself or your children in the event that you become incapacitated or if there are no surviving parents to care for the children. In Texas, there are three methods of naming a guardian: Will, Appointment of Guardian for Children, and the Designation of Guardian in advance of need.

Will and Appointment of Guardian for Children

The most common way to designate a guardian is in your Will.  However, this will only go into effect if you have passed away.  If you are living but incapacitated, you will need an Appointment of Guardian for Children. Parents may name guardians for their minor or disabled children. In the event that both parents become unable to care for their children either through incapacity or death, the designated guardian will step in to provide care. Parents should also name an alternate guardian, who will serve as the caregiver if the first is unwilling or unable to do so. Courts may still choose to appoint another guardian instead of those named if it is in the best interest of the children, or if both are unable to fulfill the duty.

Designation of a Guardian in Advance of Need

Adults may also name a guardian who would provide care if they were to later become incapacitated. There are two roles for guardians: guardian of the person, and guardian of the estate. A guardian of the person serves to provide daily care and supervision for an incapacitated person, while a guardian of the estate will manage finances and property. One guardian can take both roles, but they may also take on only one if appropriate. Designation of a guardian in advance of need may also help protect from forms of elder abuse, as long as the designated guardian is trustworthy.

Consider Guardians for Your Estate Plan

Naming guardians is an important step in the estate planning process that can provide peace of mind for you and your family. While it may not seem necessary now, planning for these contingencies can help prevent a lot of heartache down the road. If you’re ready to begin your own estate planning process, contact The Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham at (972) 292-7199 to get started today.

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Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham

Debbie Cunningham is an Irving attorney providing affordable estate planning to the Dallas/ Fort-Worth areas. She understands the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Debbie is family-focused and wants to ensure her clients are fully informed on the options that are available for their families. Debbie’s own blended family has given her valuable insights into the complexities of family dynamics.

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