Last Will & Testament

A Last Will and Testament is a legal document in which you express your wishes regarding who should care for your minor children (a “guardian”), how your assets should be distributed upon your death, and who has the authority over those assets when you die (the “executor”). Often referred to as simply a “will”, this tool is good for individuals with small estates and who don’t own a home. While having a will can help in reducing or even avoiding probate, it is not an absolute guarantee against your property and assets ending up in probate court. For those with assets in excess of $150,000, or for those who own a home, the only way to avoid probate is to place your property and assets into a trust.

Pour-Over Will

A pour-over will is a special type of will that is used in conjunction with a trust. Technically speaking, if you have a trust and all your assets are in the trust, you don’t need a will. However, maybe after you make your trust you purchase a car, or some other asset and you don’t “fund” it into your trust. In that instance, your will states that any asset you own personally should be placed into the trust. The executor of your will can then place the asset into the trust and your successor trustee can then distribute the asset per the terms of the trust. Think of the pour-over will like a safety net to catch those assets that are left out of the trust.

Durable Power of Attorney & Advanced Health Care Directive

A durable power of attorney and an advanced health care directive are legal documents in which you name the person who has the power to act in your place if you become incapacitated. The person is your “attorney in fact”. The durable power of attorney gives your attorney in fact authority over financial matters, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, DMV paperwork, etc. The durable power of attorney is different from an advanced health care directive which gives your designated person authority over your medical decisions when you are unable to make those decisions yourself. The advanced health care directive can make the difference between life and death in a medical emergency. Often times the person given these powers is a spouse or an adult child who you trust to make such decisions on your behalf. If you choose our “Gold Package” you receive both a durable power of attorney and an advanced health care directive along with your trust and the deed to place your home into the trust.