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Crafting the right estate plan for children in Texas

Parents often worry about what will happen to their children after they pass away, to the point that some of them will go to extremes to keep the children safe. Stories have been told of parents buying tickets on two different airliners if they were traveling to the same location, so that one of them would still be there for the children if either plane went down.

It's not to say that this is a bad idea, per se, but a more logical approach is to work on an estate plan in Texas. It is important for parents to know about all of the legal aspects of these plans, whether they include wills, trusts or anything else.

Professionals advise that the will is the main foundation for the plan -- the basis for everything else. Not only can it determine which of the children will be given specific things, such as wealth and assets, but it can also put a guardian in charge of the children if they are minors or if they have disabilities.

Going without a will is possible, but the state will then figure everything out, so parents will have almost no say in what happens.

On top of a will, parents may want to consider a trust. This is especially important for a child who has some type of disability, as the trust can help to pay for necessary care.

However, parents may want to use trusts to regulate funds, as well. A trust can be set up to give the money to the children in a specific fashion, like when they hit a certain age. A will just gives them a lump sum when they are lawfully old enough. A trust could spread it out and wait until they are over 18.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Getting Your Estate Plan Right" Carolyn T. Geer, Aug. 02, 2014

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