Most parents of minor children know that they need to have a current Texas will. But not everyone understands how important it is to name a Trustee to take care of financial matters and how doing so can decrease the time and money spent in legal fees and court time later on.
Naming a person whom you trust to be the Trustee of your minor children’s finances is crucially important. This position is also sometimes called the “Guardian of the Estate” or “Guardian of the Finances”.
The person who “guards” your child’s finances does not have to be the same individual who is “Guardian of the Person” for your child, but, if you prefer, both positions can be filled by one person.
The Trustee (Financial Guardian), will decide how money is spent for your child. This person will decide when to distribute money and allow unusual expenses, and how to plan for college.
If you are deceased while your child is still a minor, the probate judge will make decisions based upon your Will. If your Will does specifically name a Trustee for the children, the Judge can allow the Trustee more latitude in decision-making (independent administration- that is, more independent from court involvement). This saves time and money and is preferable to having to have frequent hearings and/or continuous requests for the Judge’s approval.
However, the Judge must look out for the interests of your child, try to follow your wishes, and must also follow the law. Leaving things “open to interpretation” or worse, not addressing the issue at all can create uncertainty, expenditures and delay.
If you have minor children, make sure that your Will has appropriate provisions regarding Guardians and Trustees!