Hays County has of late been an attractive location for younger families living in or interested in the greater Austin area to move.
Since they are just starting out, they may have only modest property. Much of the property they do have, like joint real estate or a retirement plan, could pass to a loved one outside of the probate process without a will, trust or other document.
Moreover, since young couples are usually in good health and have small children, they may have little reason to think about their estate planning.
But it is important for several reasons that people in their 20s and 30s, especially if they are parents, to consider writing a will and preparing other estate planning documents, like a financial power of attorney and healthcare directive.
A will is an opportunity for parents to provide for the care of their children
Even if they are not concerned about their property, younger parents in Texas should consider writing their wills if only to designate a guardian over their minor children.
Generally speaking, if one parent dies or is no longer able to raise their children, the other parent would step in. The other parent usually would not need further orders from a court in order to do so.
However, there are cases in which both parents die unexpectedly or one parent dies and the other parent is not able to raise the children. In these cases, Texas courts will first look to the will of the last surviving parent.
If that parent’s will mentions a preferred guardian, the court will appoint that person unless a narrow exception applies.
Otherwise, who the court will appoint is more of an open-ended question. More importantly, the appointed guardian might not be the person the parents really wanted raising their children.
Unfortunately, life can throw curves at younger families
After all, while it’s not pleasant to think about, one never knows if a sudden accident or rapidly advancing illness might take the life of a young parent or leave that parent unable to manage their families or finances.
Because of this uncertainly, it is important that parents make sure their children’s care is provided for.
For the same reasons, they should also make sure that they have the documents in place so that a trusted loved one can manage their finances and make medical decisions on their behalf.