5 Essential Estate Planning Documents
1. REVOCABLE, LIVING TRUST
Not Everyone Needs a Trust, but Many Can Benefit from a Living Trust
Your Estate Can Avoid Probate if the Trust owns all significant assets
You as Trustee can have control over your assets until disability or death
A Private Document you can amend or revoke during your lifetime
A Successor trustee can manage & distribute your assets:
- for you during disability
- for loved ones at your death
2. POUR-OVER WILL
Takes effect only upon death and is put on Public Record
Names an Executor to handle the estate
Distributes personal property after you die
At death, it “Pours over” any assets in your name alone into your Trust
Names a Guardian for Minor Children (if applicable)
Provides for payment of death expenses
3. POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR PROPERTY
The Agent with Power of Attorney for Property can manage finances on your behalf - only those assets titled in your name alone (not owned by the trust). For example, checking accounts, refund checks such as a tax return, and vehicles.
This includes everything from collecting your mail to paying your bills, managing investments, and filing tax returns on your behalf.
4. POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE
The agent will make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate or become incapacitated.
The agent must follow your wishes in your living will when making any decisions.
5. LIVING WILL
A “Living Will” says do not use artificial, death delaying procedures if I have an irreversible injury or terminal illness and my death is imminent.
Don’t confuse a “Living Will’ with a D.N.R. (do not resuscitate). A DNR says do not try to revive me if I have passed away.
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