Taking the time to create and execute an estate planning package is a wise choice, but there are often still questions regarding the “what” and “why” of some aspects of your estate plan. Have you been weighing the option of adding a Declaration of Guardian to your plan? If so, it might be helpful to have an overview of what it is and why it’s beneficial.
What Is a Declaration of Guardian?
A Declaration of Guardian is a legal document that allows you to name who you want to act as your guardian if you ever need one. You are also able to exclude people from acting as your guardian, which can be especially beneficial in highly contentious situations. If you change your mind later, you can make modifications as desired.
There are two types of guardianships decided by this Declaration – estate and person. Guardianships of the estate relate to assets, property, and finances, while guardianships of the person handle personal needs like healthcare decisions.
Do I Need a Declaration of Guardian?
It’s always a good idea to be prepared, but whether or not you would benefit from creating a Declaration of Guardian can only be answered after review of your situation. A Texas estate planning lawyer can be a powerful ally throughout your end-of-life planning, and specifically when you face uncertainty about the right choice for your circumstances. The Werner Law Group has a dedicated team of estate planning experts who are happy to address any concerns or questions you have.
Uncontested guardianships may sound like a quick and straightforward process, but that is not always the case. There is still a court process to complete, which costs valuable time and resources. If you anticipate disagreements over who should act as your guardian, a contested guardianship may be inevitable without a Declaration. This is when there is a disagreement over who should serve as guardian. Ultimately, a judge will appoint someone to fill this position, but creating a Declaration of Guardian lets the court know that you have chosen this person as the best choice for the role of guardian.
The costs and time associated with a contested guardianship are extensive. Additionally, delays and increased expenses can have a negative impact on your care while the situation gets sorted in court. In comparison to this possibility, hiring an estate planning lawyer is much more favorable and can prevent the stress and hassle associated with contested guardianship.
I feel compelled to give my readers an example of how a typical contested guardianship case vs. a Declaration of Guardian document would cost them. Contested guardianship cases are some of the messiest, emotion wrought, and expensive cases I handle. The lowest retainer on a contested guardianship case I take is $7,500 and most go into the tens of thousands of dollars by the time they are done. Our will packages range from $850-1,400 and trusts range from $3,500 to $6,000. All our estate planning packages include a Declaration of Guardian. If you have done your estate planning already, but do not have this document, do you and your family a favor, and contact an Estate Planning Lawyer today.
The Werner Law Group would love to help you with your Declaration of Guardian or other estate planning preparations. Call us to get started, or if you have an urgent need for assistance, you can text me at 361-648-6888.