Sometimes the ‘just in case’ is scary to talk about. I recently had the chance to talk to local estate planning attorney, Kyle Robbins. None of us want to think about the ‘what if’s’ or ‘just in cases’ in life. Talking with Kyle, I was happy to find that once everything is taken care of- the ‘just in case’ isn’t scary at all. Knowing my family would be cared for well and properly is actually brings a feeling of peace! Kyle sharing his expertise with me, led me to ask if he’d be willing to offer tips for all of us here.
Tip: Don’t name your kids as beneficiary of a life insurance policy!
As it turns out, minors cannot own property in Texas without triggering a guardianship proceeding in court. If you leave your children a large benefit from a life insurance policy, a Texas court would have to pick a “guardian” to supervise it, who would then most likely have to hire a guardianship attorney and/or a bookkeeper every year from your child’s policy. This is because the guardian will need help to go into court and give an “accounting” of how the money is being spent every single year until your child turns 18. It’s expensive, time consuming and burdensome.
What’s the solution then? Name your child’s trust as the beneficiary of the policy instead. This can be accomplished either with a will or a revocable living trust. The result is the person you nominate as trustee will be able to manage the finances for your children without having to go to court annually or pay anyone to do so. (And usually they love you, so they’d do it for free!).