Wills, Trusts, & Power of Attorney Services
Wills, Trusts, & Power of Attorney Services
Planning who may control your future health care decisions and
your financial matters is extremely important, as well as planning
the distribution of your assets upon death. There is no need
to put if off any longer. We have an easy process to complete
all necessary documents. When done, you will have a binder complete
with all of the following:
A Revocable Living Trust may also be recommended in estates
valued over a million dollars or other special financial or
family circumstances. The above documents would still be required.
- Your Will
- Your Power of Attorney for Finances document
- Your Power of Attorney for Health Care (includes Living Will)
- Children's Trust (optional), and...
- A handy resource for coordinating a financial summary for your estate and a worksheet for distribution of your personal effects.
Our attorney fees are reasonable and most are flat fees such
as $350 for the main documents for a single person. If you are
not sure if you need a Will, Trust, or other documents, use
Questionnaire to get started, then contact our offices for
Does having a Will avoid probate?
No. A Will instructs how your assets are to be divided.
You can avoid probate by creating a trust (noted above), or
by listing beneficiaries, and noting transfer on death (TOD)
designations on bank accounts and TOD on real estate (new since
2006), Preplanning is key. The above noted power of attorney
forms are still necessary, even in small estates, as they direct
your wishes while you are still alive, and avoid a guardianship
action, which can be costly and a burden on loved-ones. Call
today for a free review of what type of service is best for
When is a Guardianship necessary?
When an adult is no longer able to make decisions for
him or herself, and he or she does NOT have power of attorney
documents. Power of attorney documents designate who can sign
on their behalf - for medical, or financial (separate documents).
Guardianship is a formal court proceeding that requires many
steps, and at least one court hearing. Guardianship is also
necessary when a disabled child is close to reaching the age
of majority (18). Prior to that time, the parents can sign for
medical treatment and such. After age 18, parents need to be
appointed legal guardian. Another type of guardianship is for
a minor child, if his or her parents are deceased or not able
to care for the child. We can assist with all types of guardianships,
and help you plan to avoid a guardianship action.
Power of Attorney documents
Power of attorney documents are effective only while a person
is alive. They CEASE to be effective upon that person's death.
There is NO grace period. The powers terminate immediately upon
death. Power of attorney agents are often confused by this since
they may have been handling financial affairs for years and
don't understand why death changes things. Simply put, it does.
Upon death, the Will takes over (probate court) or the Trust
(if the decedent has one), or the TOD designations noted above
(if done before death). Preplanning is key to ensuring a smooth
transition after death, as well as before.
Children's Trust - essential
A Children's Trust is a smaller version of the large Revocable
Living Trust. A children's trust can be an additional piece
to a Will package, which allows all assets passing to your children
to be managed under one umbrella (trust). You can then designate
ages the children will receive distributions, or set limitations
on the type or timing of distributions to them. This is essential
as most parents realize that their children may not be ready
to handle a large sum of money at age 18 and, rather, the children's
trust can hold that off to age 25, 30, or whatever age or rules
you set. Remember, you may not have a large cash estate at this
time, but upon death, even in the near future, your children
will, as they will receive your life insurance policies, retirement,
home, investments, etc. The largest of these may be the insurance
and retirement which you do not have access to, but they would
upon death. Using the Children's Trust as a planning tool to
help your children manage those funds responsibly is one of
the most important parental obligations you have. Purchasing
life insurance sounds responsible, but if you do not add this
planning tool, your children generally will NOT have access
to those funds at all, until they turn 18, and then they receive
the whole sum outright - no strings attached. Having this additional
piece of protection not only protects your children before age
18, but also after.