There is no universal, one-size-fits-all plan. At the same time, some of the documents in a complete estate plan are necessary for everyone. In this post, we will provide clarity that will help you cover all of your bases appropriately.
All estate plans will arrange for postmortem asset transfers. However, there are different documents that can be used to facilitate the distributions. A will is one option, but a trust of some kind will be a better choice for a wide range of people.
The revocable living trust is the most commonly utilized trust for a number of reasons. First, it facilitates transfers outside of probate. This is a legal process that would be necessary if you use a will as your asset transfer vehicle.
When you have a living trust, you are the trustee while you are living, so you control the assets. You can change the terms at any time, and you can dictate the nature of the distributions. You do not have to allow for lump sum distributions all at once.
There are other types of trusts that satisfy specific targeted objectives. When you work with our firm, we will gain an understanding of your situation and make the appropriate recommendations.
Letter of Last Instruction
Imagine being the administrator of an estate. The person dies, and you are supposed to spring into action. At that point, in a perfect world, you will have all the information that you need to complete the tasks. With this in mind, a complete estate plan will include a letter of last instruction.
In a real sense, this is self-explanatory. You ask yourself what the administrator will need to know, and you act accordingly. For example, you should share the contact information of people that should be notified about your passing. A list of your accounts would be helpful, and you should provide access information.
If you have a prepaid burial plot, your administrator will need to know about it. These are a handful of things to think about, but at the end of the day, you simply apply common sense.
End-of-life eventualities should be addressed when your devising a complete estate plan. One document that should be included is a living will. This type of will is used to record your life-support utilization preferences. You can also add your organ and tissue donation and comfort care medication choices if you choose to do so.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and HIPAA Release
Situations that call for medical decision-making outside of the realm of life-support utilization can arise when you are incapable of communicating. To account for this possibility, your plan should include a durable power of attorney for health care.
In this document, you name an agent to act as your representative. Because of HIPAA regulations, your representative will not be able to access your health care records unless you include a HIPAA release.
Durable Power of Attorney for Property and Disability Trustee
Your incapacity plan should also extend to financial matters. If you have a living trust, you would be the trustee while you are alive. To account for possible incapacity, you can name a disability to trustee to manage the trust if it becomes necessary. For property that is not held by a trust, you can name a decision-maker in a durable power of attorney for property.
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Our Hartford, CT estate planning attorneys will provide the assistance you need if you are ready to put a complete estate plan in place. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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