This is the Estate Planning Portfolio that our clients receive. Each customized package is assembled in a black wrap around binder with gold accents. Labeled divider tabs make it easy to navigate and keep your documents organized. These important documents will be kept for years to come.
Certificate of Trust
This is a short or condensed version of your Trust that verifies the Trust’s existence and explains the powers given to Trustees. It does not reveal any information about the Trust assets, your beneficiaries or their inheritances. Most financial institutions require a copy of your Trust to facilitate changing title. You can provide the Certification of Trust to your bank or other financial institution without giving them the entire Trust document.
Revocable means that it can be revoked, changed or discontinued. This document creates the entity to which you transfer ownership of your assets. It also contains your instructions for managing your assets during your lifetime and for their distribution upon your incapacity or death. Your Revocable Living Trust is a method of avoiding the probate process. If your assets are owned by your Trust, no court is involved in the transfer of your assets upon your death or the death of your spouse. Therefore, no newspaper notices are required, no records become public and no statutory waiting periods apply. As soon as any tax matters are settled, your assets may immediately be distributed to your beneficiaries.
Last Will and Testament
A short Will stating that any assets left out of your Revocable Living Trust will become part of your Revocable Living Trust upon your death. These assets will have to go through the probate process first to get them into the Trust, then distributed as outlined in the Trust. Guardians for minor children are also identified in the wills. Your goal, however, is to avoid probate and the Will should not be relied upon to transfer assets to your Trust.
Durable Power of Attorney
If you are incapacitated, this document gives another person full legal authority to sign your name on your behalf and manage your finances for all assets not owned by your Trust. (Your Revocable Living Trust gives your Successor Trustee or surviving spouse Financial Powers of Attorney for assets owned by the Trust.) For tax reasons you should own certain assets outside your Revocable Living Trust; e.g., IRA’s, annuities, pension plans. Since they are not owned by your Trust, your Successor Trustee has no authority to deal with them. The Financial Durable Power of Attorney names an Attorney-in-Fact to make decisions regarding such assets.
Advance Healthcare Directive
A Power of Attorney for Healthcare gives someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. You cannot make choices for a family member if that individual is unconscious or incompetent unless you have Power of Attorney to do so. Even parents of adult children cannot authorize emergency treatment for them without a Power of Attorney. If no one has been appointed as your Attorney-in-Fact, it is up to the courts to make decisions on your behalf.
A Living Will deals with end of life decisions if you are ever in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an irreversible coma. Modern technology has advanced to the point that it is possible to keep an individual alive for an indefinite period of time even though there is little, if any, chance of recovery. If you fail to make your wishes known ahead of time, you could lose your “right to die” privilege.
Various schedules are included to support your Living Trust document.
This section is your ‘record keeping’ section. You will list each transfer that you make to your Living Trust, you can designate certain items (such as jewelry) to specific beneficiaries, you can list important contact people (such as your accountant), and complete a memorial guide to let your Successor Trustee know what your wishes are.