I do a lot of estate planning and probate here at the Jacobson Law Firm, PC. One of the things I tell married couples who are deciding whether to have wills and advance directives prepared is that they need to name an alternate agent (executor, power of attorney holder, guardian for minors, trustee, etc.) in their estate planning documents. The reason I often give is, "If you're both in the same accident, you need somebody else who can handle your affairs". A lot of people either roll their eyes or say, "We don't travel together", or "We'll think about it".
A week or so ago, this possibility became very real when our next-door neighbors, a husband and wife with 4 minor children, were tragically killed when their minivan was broadsided by a pickup truck. This wasn't on a trip to Colorado, it was when they were coming home from getting ice cream with their kids, who are now orphans.
I also get younger couples with minor children who put off making a plan and getting documents because they think they have all kinds of time, or they can't agree on who will get the kids, or for some other reason just "didn't get around to it". The firm has now represented two clients whose mid-thirties husbands died unexpectedly - with partially completed questionnaires that they just never got around to returning to me, leaving their wives and children at the mercy of the Texas laws of descent and distribution instead of inheriting under a will that specifically made them beneficiaries.
These tragedies happen, people - they HAPPEN. Please, if you haven't done your estate planning and you have kids, make it a belated New Year's resolution to do so in the next few months. When you do, go to an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your options. One size doesn't fit all, but you don't want to leave your family naked and afraid.
As always, the above is legal information, not legal advice, and it's based on Texas law because I'm a Texas lawyer.
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