Setting Up a Comprehensive Estate Plan

Creating a comprehensive estate plan for your family is an important project to undertake. Your wishes for passing your estate to your family require precise planning. Start the process today with a complimentary consultation with one of our team members.

Estate Plan

Not Just a Living Trust…
A Full Living Trust Package

A Revocable Living Trust
• A “Pour Over” Will
• Living Will
Health Care Power of Attorney
• Mental Health Power of Attorney
• Durable Power of Attorney
• HIPAA Documents
• Schedule of Assets
• Personal Property Distribution
• Affidavit of Trust Existence*
• Quit Claim Deeds for Real Estate*
• Assignment of Personal Property
• Procedure at Death Instructions

*Recording fees additional charge

Avoid Probate

Last Will and Testaments require a Court supervised process during the  distribution of assets (probate). This isn’t the case when a valid Trust is in place. Establishing a Trust can eliminate the Probate process for your beneficiaries.

comprehensive estate plan

Here’s a Checklist of Items You’ll Need To Have To Get You Started

  • Your Children’s Information
    first and last names, their dates of birth, and phone number.

  • Successor Trustee
    Name and phone number

  • Alternative Successor Trustee
    Name and phone number

  • Distribution Directions
    How your assets will be divided among beneficiaries (preferably a percentage)

  • List of Assets
    Property deeds, financial accounts, vehicle information

  • Power of Attorney Forms
    Name and phone number of person who make health and financial decisions for you,

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Do I give up any control over my assets if I have a Trust?

No, not with the Trust we will provide. We will draft a Revocable Living Trust and you will maintain complete control over all of your assets. When you die, that control is passed on to someone that you appoint to be the Successor Trustee. During your lifetime you will be able to do anything with your assets you could do if they were not in the Trust.

Do I have to file a separate tax return for the Trust?

No, you will file your taxes as you always have. There is no separate Tax ID number for your Trust. Your taxes will be filed using your own social security number just like you’ve done before.

Does a Revocable Trust offer me any asset protection during my lifetime?

No, since you have complete control over your assets they are subject to attachment as if you held them in your name. If you want a Trust that offers you asset protection during your life then you need some type of irrevocable Trust.

Our Trusts do offer your heirs/beneficiaries some asset protection. There is a “Spendthrift” provision in our Trust. That means if one of your heirs/beneficiaries has a judgment placed against them prior to your death then, at the time of your death, rather than taking possession of the assets to be inherited, the beneficiary can request that the Successor Trustee keep the assets in the Trust. In this scenario the judgment creditor of the beneficiary cannot attach the assets in the Trust.

If I am married, how many Trusts do I need?

One. You and your spouse will both be Trustors (creators of the Trust) and Trustees. Upon the death of the first spouse the other spouse maintains all authority and control over the assets in the Trust.

What happens when I die? Does my spouse have to do anything to ensure he/she has access to all of our assets?

No, since the assets are held in the name of the Trust there is no need to change anything. All documents of ownership like deeds, bank accounts etc. in the name of the Trust are then within the control of the surviving spouse.

Your Comprehensive Estate Plan May Also Include…

A Living Will

A Living Will is a document that lets your family and friends know your wishes if you become seriously ill or incapacitated and are not able to make decisions for yourself in regard to your health care. This is the document that states whether or not you want to be kept alive by artificial means.

A Durable
Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney gives an Agent, that you name, the authority to conduct any financial transactions on your behalf if you become seriously ill or incapacitated.

A Health Care
Power of Attorney

A Health Care Power of Attorney gives an Agent, that you name, the authority to act on your behalf and to carry out your wishes if you become seriously ill and incapacitated. This document states whether or not you consent to an autopsy or whether you want to be an organ donor.

Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament is similar to a Trust document in only a few ways. Just like a Trustee is named in a Trust, the Testator in a Last Will and Testament nominates a Personal Representative to carry out the Testators wishes for distribution upon his/her death. The Personal Representative pays creditors of the Estate and files a final tax return. Just like a Trust describes the Grantor’s wishes for distribution of his/her estate, the Testator in a Last Will and Testament describes his/her wishes for distribution of his/her estate.

So what is the difference? A Last Will and Testament gets filed with the Probate court when the Testator dies and the Probate process is started by appointing the Personal Representative that the Testator nominated in his/her Will.

The Trustee in a Trust assumes their role as Successor Trustee effective upon the death of the Grantor with no Court appointment.

So why would someone choose a Last Will and Testament over a Revocable Trust? Answer: personal choice. Many of my clients are indifferent about going through Probate and choose to prepare a Last Will and Testament.

Without a Last Will and Testament however, the Court will appoint any person who qualifies by statute to be appointed as Personal Representative if a Last Will and Testament was not prepared and a probate proceeding is required.

A Last Will and Testament at minimum will give the Testator a little bit more control over who should be appointed to handle the distribution of his/her estate.

It’s important tho have everything planned and in place, that is why it’s so important to work with a company who specializes in comprehensive estate plan implementation.

Need help or have a question about a comprehensive estate plan?
Give us a call at 623-561-2323 to start planning today!

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