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What documents are included in an Estate Plan?

Estate plans most often consist of a trust, will and often power of attorneys or living wills.  An estate plan also helps to coordinate retirement funds, IRA’s, beneficiary designations on bank accounts and life insurance policies.

A will is an instrument by which a person makes a disposition of their real and personal property, to take effect after their death, and which by its own nature is ambulatory and revocable.

A living trust is a tool most often used to avoid probate by transferring assets into the trust (a separate legal entity) and then naming yourself as trustee of that trust.  Once you pass away, the successor trustee then has instruction on to who to transfer the trust assets.

A power or attorney is a document by which you give another person the ability to make medical decisions for you when you are unable.

A living will is a set of pre-written instructions regarding life-sustaining measures you would want to receive or not receive and under what conditions.

Retirement accounts and life insurance policies distribute directly to the beneficiaries, and other financial accounts can be set up to work this way as well.

Each estate plan is different, depending on the goals, priorities and wishes, along with the nature and quantity of assets.  The Robert L. Shepard Professional Law Corporation can help you decide which documents are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning