Law Firm of Gregory A Ross, PC

August 22, 2012

The 3 Most Important Documents Every Parent Should Have for Their College-Bound Teenagers


Back to School is an exciting time for those parents who have children about to go to college for the first time (or returning to college).

•But did you know that once your child turns 18, your rights as a parent end?
•Did you know you do not have the right to look at their grades or talk to their doctors if there is a medical issue?

What’s that you say? But, I’m paying their bills for college (or their health insurance), why shouldn’t I have the right to look at their records or speak to someone about them? Well, the fact of the matter is, once a child turns 18, they become an adult and parents lose their rights.

So, what can you do about this?

You can make sure that your child signs a Durable Power of Attorney (which will allow you to deal with their finances, school records, etc.) a Medical Power of Attorney and a HIPAA Release (which will allow you access to their medical records and the right to talk to their doctors) BEFORE they go away to college. Then make sure you supply their school and their treating physicians with copies of these documents so that, if there is an emergency, the right people have the documentation in place to know that they can legally talk to you.

For more information about estate planning documents for your college-bound teen in Texas, please contact the Law Office of Gregory A. Ross, PC today.

For over 20 years, Gregory Ross has been serving the legal needs of North Texas area families. Mr. Ross is licensed in both State and Federal Courts. It is his mission in the practice of law to protect, honor and educate his clients. He advocates on behalf of his clients in the areas of Adoptions, Bankruptcy, Foreclosures, and Mental Health Commitments. He also provides clients with comprehensive estate planning including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, and gives his clients peace of mind. His blog is updated regularly about laws affecting, Adoptions, Bankruptcy, Estate Planning and Probate, Foreclosures, and Mental Health Commitments.

August 21, 2012

Can You Change a Will Using a Power of Attorney?

The quick answer is no. A person that holds a Power of Attorney from you cannot change your Will for you. A Power of Attorney gives the person you choose the power to make financial, medical and legal decisions for you if you become incapacitated. However, your Power of Attorney cannot change your Will for you in any U.S. state, since all 50 states require you to have the mental capacity to make, change or revoke your Will.

Requirements for Changing a Will

All 50 U.S. states have the same basic requirements for changing a Will, either by making a new Will or attaching a Codicil. To change a Will, the testator (the person making or changing the Will) must be “of sound mind,” or capable of understanding what the Will does and what effect his changes will have. Although the testator does not have to be physically capable of writing the changes or of signing them, he/she does have to give the directions to someone else to do so. If a person the testator directs signs the Will on the testator’s behalf, the testator must be conscious and watching the other person sign.

How Power of Attorney Works

The powers granted by a Power of Attorney generally do not begin until the person for whom you have Power of Attorney is incapacitated. Since the testator of a Will must have the mental capacity to understand changes to his/her Will, the person with Power of Attorney cannot use that power to change the Will, since the Power of Attorney usually only has power if the testator is incapacitated. The person who has been granted Power of Attorney may help the testator change his Will while the testator is still of sound mind, but he/she may not use the Power of Attorney to change the Will without the testator’s express direction and consent.

Call us at 940-692-7800 with your questions about Powers of Attorney or Wills.

January 10, 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Update Your Will

Update WillIf you have a Will, be sure to keep it updated when there are important changes in your life. Your Will should not be stored away and forgotten. Take it out and review it at least annually to be sure that it still works properly, especially if things have changed in your life.

Here’s a list of the Top Ten Reasons you may need your Will updated:

  1. Marriage
  2. Divorce
  3. Birth of a Child
  4. Death of Someone Receiving Property Under the Will (a Beneficiary)
  5. Moving to a New State
  6. Receiving a Large Inheritance
  7. Your Named Executor Passes Away
  8. The Guardian for Your Minor Children Passes Away
  9. You No Longer Have a Good Relationship With Someone Named in Your Will
  10. You’ve Changed Your Mind About Who Should Receive Your Property

If any of these reasons apply to you, it’s important to see an attorney as soon as possible to get a new Will or a Codicil prepared. You’re probably wondering, “What’s a Codicil?” It’s a legal document that changes the terms of a Will. It’s similar to an amendment to a contract, but it must meet the same legal requirements of a Will in order to be valid. A Codicil is a good option if you only have a few changes to your Will. If there are a lot of changes, or if your life situation has changes significantly, it’s usually better to get a new Will.

If it’s been a while since your Will was done, give us a call at 940-692-7800 and we can work with you to determine if you need a new Will or a Codicil.

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