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Parts of Your Estate Plan

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Parts of Your Estate Plan

Your estate plan will consist of a few different documents. Some of the documents that we prepare are listed below. Additional documentation may be needed for your particular situation.

Will

A will provides for the disposition of your property upon your death. It provides you the opportunity to specify who will receive your property, who will manage your estate (your personal representative), and who you would like to act as guardian of your minor children. A will may be revoked or changed at any time before your death (although it is possible to create a will that cannot be changed).

Living Trust (Revocable Trust)

A living trust allows you to avoid probate and keep your financial matters private; however, it does not avoid death taxes. During your lifetime, you are the trustee of the trust and can change the terms of the trust. Upon your death or disability, the successor trustee would manage the trust property and distribute the trust assets in accordance with the terms of the trust. In conjunction with establishing a trust, it is important to actually transfer your assets to the trust.

General Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney appoints another person to act on your behalf. The person appointed is your “attorney-in-fact” and has a fiduciary obligation to act on your behalf. A general durable power of attorney is unlimited (covers all acts) and will continue to be effective even if you are incapacitated. A general durable power of attorney will hopefully eliminate the need for a court-appointed guardian in the event you are unable to manage your own affairs.

Advance Health Care Directives

Your advance health care directives address who will be in charge of making medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make those decisions for yourself. The directives also allow the nominated person access to your private health information. The last part of your directives allows you to make choices regarding end-of-life treatments that your designated person will use in making those decisions on your behalf. They also typically contain information that states, in the event of a terminal illness, life-prolonging procedures are not to be used or are to be withdrawn if they have already been used.

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