Simplified Estate Planning Types

The type of documentation in our basic estate plan options can include:

Wills or pour over wills

  • Will – A legal document filed with probate court 
    • Instructs the court where to distribute all of your assets 
    • Only includes assets in your name without a beneficiary 
    • Names a guardian if there are minor children 
    • Court oversees distributions to children, executor – Individual or corporation administering estate
  • Pour-over will 
    • Legal document that ensures an individual’s remaining assets will automatically transfer to a previously established trust upon their death 

Durable power of attorney

  • A document that appoints an individual to act on your behalf, allowing that person to make financial decisions for you 
  • A durable power of attorney for finance can help plan for medical emergencies and declines in mental functioning and can ensure that your finances are taken care of  
  • Can be effective immediately. Incapacity is not required. 

Medical directives 

  • A medical directive, also known as a living will or power of attorney for healthcare is a legal document that contains instructions regarding a person’s health care decisions should they become incapacitated. 
  • If a person becomes incapacitated, they may not be able to make medical decisions at that moment. Therefore, medical directive helps prepare the person for such situations by naming a representative who will make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.
  • Medical directives provide a written record of the person’s intentions, which can help prevent legal disputes over health care issues.

Deed or transfer instrument

  • A deed is a legal document that transfers the title of an asset, granting ownership, if you do not have an encumbrance on it.
  • A Transfer Instrument – depending on your state, may be used to transfer your home on your death either to your trust or family members outside of probate.

Revocable living trust 

  • A document created by an individual (grantor) appointing the trustee (generally the same as the grantor) to handle trust assets
  • Outlines how your assets should be handled during your life, but you must transfer assets into your trust, i.e. brokerage accounts, home, savings
  • Outlines how assets are held and distributed upon death, whether the assets remain in trust or are distributed outright
  • When there are children under 25, the trust holds assets for the benefit of the children if parents are deceased
  • For married couples, both spouses will serve as co-trustees, either spouse can make decisions
  • Often the trust is named a beneficiary of various assets and accounts and the trust receives the assets on the individual’s death