An estate plan generally consists of a package of four documents specifically tailored to your needs. They are…
1. Last Will and Testament
A written legal document that states how you’d like your property and assets distributed after your death. When used in combination with a Living Trust it is typically referred to as a Pour Over Will as it will pour any assets left out of your Trust back into your Trust after your death. This document also allows you to designate a Personal Representative to ensure your specifications are carried out and allows you to name guardian(s) for your minor children.
2. Health Care Power of Attorney
A written legal document that allows you to designate a health care advocate who will carry out your wishes regarding medical care in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
3. Financial Power of Attorney
A written legal document that allows you to designate someone to manage your non-health related affairs in the event that you are unable to manage them yourself.
4. Living Trust
A comprehensive written legal document that will provide for the management of your assets outside of probate court. This is a significant advantage because the probate process can last for years and drain your estate’s value. Avoiding probate court with a living trust also ensures your privacy because probate documents are open to the public.