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Top 5 Reasons People Don't Have Wills

  1. Procrastination
  2. Not knowing they need one
  3. Affordability
  4. Limited time to make a Will
  5. No forms that work for them
Your Child.
Your Spouse.
Your Partner.

Don't leave them victim to the uncertainties of Texas Probate Law.

Selecting Guardians

The most difficult decision, and important part of a last will and testament form, is often the section naming a Guardian (or Guardians) for your children. No parent wants to think of being gone and their child left without them, but you have to do so when you make your will. The good news is you will feel more confident and secure once your will is created and put away, and hopefully it won't be used for a long, long time.

So how do you choose a guardian in Texas? There are some general guidelines that have to be followed, but you are typically free to choose almost any person you think is appropriate to be the Guardian of your child. Here are the legal requirements you have to consider when making your choice:

  • The person you name must be over 18
  • If you name Co-Guardians they must be husband and wife
  • The appointment of the Guardian, or Co-Guardians, must be in the best interest of the child

As you can see, there are few restrictions as to whom you may appoint as Guardian. In addition, there are a few common misconceptions about who can act as a Guardian. The following are some ideas to remember as you go through the process of choosing a Guardian:

  • You ARE allowed to choose a person who is out of state (or even out of the county) to act as Guardian for your children
  • If you choose an older generation Guardian you should name an alternate Guardian that is in a younger generation
  • You can name an older child to be Guardian of a minor sibling
  • If you have children from multiple marriages you can name different Guardians for the different sets of children
  • You should name at least one alternate Guardian or set of alternate Co-Guardians
  • The Guardian does not have to be the same person as the Trustee (who manages the estate for your children), but it is fine to name the same person for both roles
  • The Guardian does not have to be a family member, it can be a friend

With these restrictions in mind, and the common misconceptions addressed, you should now have a framework to use while thinking of naming a Guardian for your children. On a more personal level you may also ask yourself, and your spouse, the following questions:

  • Does the person I am naming share the same parenting style as me? This question is the one that most often steers people toward choosing a non-family member (when that does occur).
  • Will raising my children be a significant financial burden on this particular Guardian? Even if your child is left your estate through a trust, the Guardian may feel a need to care for your children without using the funds or the funds cannot be accessed for certain financial needs the Guardian may have.
  • What will the effect be on my children if they are moved far away, including the ability to see their extended family?
  • Does the Guardian have children around the same age as mine?

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