An estate plan may include the preparation of the following documents:
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
- Trust (various kinds)
- Funding Documents – the transfer of assets to your Trust (Certification of Trust, Declaration of Personal Property, Trust Transfer Deeds, etc.)
The first two documents allow a third party to make decisions for you according to your wishes as you have indicated in the documents. The authority can be effective when you are deemed incompetent or immediatley. The Will dictates how your estate is to be administered and distributed on your death. Having a Will alone does not necessarily avoid the court process called Probate. You may also use a Will to nominate guardians for minor children. There are several benefits of holding your assets in a Trust in addition to avoiding probate. Having assets held by a Trust provide clarity and continued control of assets which can be very helpful when there are blended families from second marraiges and or when there is a disabled family member.