Wills

Every estate plan should include a will. If the value of the estate is small, then a simple will may suffice to transfer your assets. If the value of the estate is larger and real estate is involved, it is probably better to have your assets held in a trust. This can accomplish many different goals, such as avoiding probate, lowering estate taxes and directing the distribution of your property upon your death. If you die with assets outside of the trust, the pour-over will directs the assets to pour into the trust and be distributed in accordance with the trust’s directions. A pour-over will allows you to transfer any assets that you failed to transfer into your living will during your life into a living trust upon your death so that the estate may be distributed according to the terms of the living trust. The pour-over will is a means to also identify who will act as your executor and administer you estate, who will serve as the guardian of your minor children, and who will manage money for the care of your minor children.

Trusts

There are two basic types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust can be altered during the life of the grantor (the person who creates the trust). The assets held in a revocable trust at the decedent’s death are subject to the estate tax. Conversely, an irrevocable trust generally cannot be altered after you create it. The assets held in an irrevocable trust at the decedent’s death are not generally subject to the estate tax.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

If you are unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself, you want to be sure that someone you trust can make informed decisions for you. A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to name an agent and provide guidance as to your healthcare wishes.

Power of Attorney for Property

A durable power of attorney for property allows you to name an agent to manage your property in the event you are unable to do so.