By Lorie Burch, Owner & Founding Attorney of Burch Law
Ok, not really, but I had to get your attention as to how important this planning is!
You love your children, you’d do anything for them. Yet you still don’t have a Will to protect them if the unexpected happens. Or you mistakenly think that an online form or program is sufficient enough to cover those who are most precious to you. Many do not realize the consequences of not having this planning completed…and having it done correctly!
Without a Will…
- Your children will become wards of the state and a court will determine the guardian of your children. Your family could end up in court fighting over the kids, or they could end up with a stranger.
- The court will determine who inherits your estate as well as the trustee of your children’s inheritance.
- Your court-appointed administrator/executor may have to post a bond to guarantee that s/he is responsibly managing the money the state grants to your underage children.
- In blended families, a new spouse may become partners with step-children or possibly an ex-spouse in handling your estate.
- The new spouse will not be legally required to use those assets for your children and when s/he dies, s/he will not be required to leave any of those assets to your children.
Don’t Take the Risk of Going Online
There are a myriad of issues that are not addressed or are left incomplete when someone tries to draft their own documents through online forms or Will kits. I wrote more about this in a previous blog:https://burch-law.com/think-an-online-will-is-better-than-nothing-think-again/.
For parents in particular, going online is a huge mistake. Much of your estate, such as life insurance and retirement, is not controlled by your Will. Beneficiaries of such assets need to be carefully coordinated in order to ensure inheritance is distributed to your children in the manner that you wish.
Also, when you use online forms you are not aware of other planning that may be necessary. For example, a Will can cover guardianship of your children if you pass away, but what if you are in an accident or incapacitated? There is no one automatically designated by law to step in for your kids. There is; however, a document that can be created to cover such a situation. Bottom line, you are not aware of all the considerations and your options unless you consult an attorney.
So, no, you’re not really a bad parent. However, your children are counting on you to protect them. The reality is, you need to plan for the unexpected to ensure that no matter what, your kids will receive the best care possible rather than leaving it to chance…or to the state.
Because…If You Don’t have a Will, the State of Texas has One for You!