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Estate Planning 101

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Documents Explained

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is also know as an inter vivid trust. Inter Vivos is latin for “between the living” indicating that your trust was created during your lifetime. Revocable means that the trust can be changed or revoked during your lifetime. Your trust creates a legal entity to which you transfer ownership of your assets. It empowers you to manage your assets during your lifetime and contains the details for how your assets are to be distributed at your death.

A revocable living trust permits you to avoid probate proceedings that would be required if you distributed your assets via a will. If your assets are owned by your trust then upon your death your successor trustee is empowered to manage or distribute assets without the need of a court order.

Last Will and Testament (Pour Over Will)

A pour over will is a last will and testament that works in conjunction with your living trust. It specifically states that any assets not transferred to your revocable living trust during your lifetime are to be transferred in your trust upon your death. Any assets transferred to your trust under the authority of your pour over will must go through probate. Transferring assets to your living trust using your pour over will is not the preferred method and should not be relied upon to transfer assets to your trust.

Your pour over will makes certain that all your assets will be owned by your trust, even if you are not diligent in transferring ownership to your trust during your lifetime. In addition to guaranteeing your assets are properly funded, your pour over will names guardians for your minor children.

Financial Durable Power Of Attorney

A financial power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants a trusted agent the authority to act on behalf of the principal-agent in financial matters. The former is also referred to as the attorney-in-fact while the principal-agent is the person who grants the authority.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney (HCPA) is a legal document that allows an individual to empower another person to make decisions about his or her medical care. A healthcare power of attorney refers to both a legal document and a specific person with legal authority.

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