An estate plan can vary by person, but in general, it includes:
It’s important to create an estate plan that’s supervised by an estate planning attorney who understands the laws in your state and common pitfalls and loopholes.
A will is a legal guide for what you want to happen to your possessions when you die. One of the most important parts of a will is who you name executor. This person becomes responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in your will. If you don’t name an executor, this person is selected by a judge — it’s usually your closest living relative.
You die intestate. This is a fancy way of saying the courts decide what happens to your assets and your kids. The process is called probate, and it can sometimes costs thousands of dollars
You go through probate, where a court validates everything. The information in your will becomes public record, and the process often costs money.
The trust bypasses probate: Your information stays private, and the courts stay out of it.
This is the main reason we advocate for estate planning.
It’s the best way to ensure your plans work out.
A legal document instructing what to do with your assets when you die.
You (the trustor) create a trust to hold your assets for a third party (beneficiary). These assets are under the care of a trustee.
Certifies that a trust exists and that the trustee has the right to act on behalf of the trust.
Transfers assets held outside of the trust into it without transferring everything individually.
Helps distinguish community property from individual property; this can be particularly relevant to married couples in certain states.
Gives someone (a trusted agent) authority to legally act on your behalf for financial matters.
Gives someone the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated or too ill to make your own decisions.
Grants specified people the ability to access your health records.