An estate plan consists of numerous documents that compliment your living trust. If you are not familiar with your estate planning binder, it can be difficult and frustrating to figure out what each document is and what purpose it serves.  Here is a quick description of the most common documents contained in your estate plan.  If you are missing any of this paperwork, it is important to have your estate plan reviewed and updated.

Declaration of Trust

This is your living trust which states who is the trustee and the beneficiaries upon your death.  This document also serves you during your lifetime, should you become incapacitated, by allowing the Successor Trustee to step in and manage all assets that belong to the trust. Typically, the trust will govern your real property, brokerage accounts and large bank accounts. All property (real estate and money) needs to be titled into the name of your trust; this does not include IRA and 401K accounts.

HIPPA Release Form

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) was created to make sure your health information is protected. Health care providers cannot release your health information without express permission. This form will make it so the information can be shared among specific individuals you decide need this information.

Advanced Health Care Directive

This document states what actions can be taken if you are no longer able to make medical decisions.  It states your wishes about life support, organ donation and burial.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney will give another person the legal authority to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. With a power of attorney in place, your family will avoid having to ask a court to appoint a conservator/representative if you cannot manage your affairs.  This serves to pay your bills, manage your checking account and deal with the day-to-day affairs.

Pour-over Will

A Pour-Over Will directs any assets discovered not to be named into your living trust back to your trust to avoid probate. The Pour-Over Will also declares who your spouse and children.  This document protects from “long lost relatives” claiming to be related to you.

No Cost Consultation

These are a few forms which should be part of an Estate Planning packet. It is recommended that you have your estate reviewed every 5 years due to possible changes in the law, changes with your health, or family situation. If you are missing any of these documents, please contact the Law Offices of Lisa C. Bryant for your free estate planning review.