A lot of people think that you have either a will or a trust when you put an estate plan in place, and there is some truth to this understanding. However, you should actually have a couple of different types of wills to go along with your trust.
The trustee of a living trust could manage assets on behalf of a minor child, so this device is useful for the parents of dependent children. However, the trustee would not have the authority to act as the child’s overall guardian.
If you do not address the matter of guardianship, the probate court would make the choice for you, so you should attend to this detail when you are planning your estate. You can name a guardian for your children in a simple will, even if you have a trust.
When you are doing this, you should consider the longevity of the person that you choose, and you should be certain that they are willing to accept the role if it becomes necessary. Geography is another factor, and you should name an alternate to add a layer of security.
You should address end-of-life matters when you are developing your estate plan, and advance directives for health care will be part of the plan. One of these directives is a living will.
This type of will has nothing to do with financial matters. When you draw up a living will, you state your preferences regarding the use of life sustaining techniques. The document can also include your organ and tissue donation and comfort care medication choices.
Medical situations can arise when you cannot communicate that are not related to the life-support matters that you addressed in the living will. To account for this type of scenario, you can name a representative in a durable power of attorney for health care.
Doctors are constrained by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) when it comes to privacy. They cannot release medical information to anyone other than the patient, so you should sign a HIPAA release to give your representative access to your records.
Pour Over Will
After you create and fund your living trust, you may acquire property that you did not transfer into the trust for one reason or another. To account for property that may be in your direct possession at the time of your passing, you should include a pour over will in your estate plan.
This will facilitate the transfer of the outstanding property into the trust, and this will streamline the estate administration process.
An ethical will is not legally binding, and it is not absolutely necessary, but you should be aware of its existence. Since biblical times, people have used ethical wills share the moral and spiritual values with their loved ones as a parting act of giving.
During our modern era, experts recommend ethical wills, and there are no rules with regard to the contents. You can look at it like a sincere final letter to your family, and you express anything that you would like to share.
Put a Plan in Place!
If you are currently going through life without an estate plan, you are doing your family a disservice. A lot of people know that they should put a plan in place, but they are frozen with inaction because they do not know where to begin.
This is understandable to some extent, but we are here to help. There are different ways to proceed, and personalized attention is very important. We can gain an understanding of your situation and your legacy goals and explain your options.
At the conclusion of the process, you will emerge with a carefully constructed estate plan that ideally suits your needs. As time goes on, if and when circumstances change, we will be well-positioned to make the appropriate revisions.
You can schedule a consultation at our Memphis, TN estate planning office if you call us at 901-763-2500 or 866-997-6325. There is also a contact form on this site you can use if you would rather send us a message.