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Basic Estate Planning Documents

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For more information on Estate Planning, please contact Beth Horner, SVP, Trust Director

Revocable Living Trust

This type of trust creates a legal entity to hold assets with directions to the successor trustee on how to administer them. You can be the trustee of your revocable trust as long as you are capable of serving. Trusts can help avoid guardianship if you become incapacitated. The trust provisions only control those assets that are titled in the name of your trust, not individually held assets. Trusts are very flexible and can transition wealth either outright at death or continue to hold assets in further trust for a specified time, or the lifetime of a named beneficiary. Ongoing trusts can provide creditor and spendthrift protection for your beneficiaries.

Last Will and Testament

Your Last Will and Testament names your personal representative and details how you want your estate to be administered. Wills only come into effect at your death and explain your wishes relating to the distribution of your assets upon your death. Wills only control assets you owned individually, not jointly held assets, assets in the name of your trust, or assets such as IRAs, annuities or life insurance policies that are controlled by the contract you entered into with the company. An attorney is required to represent the personal representative in formal probate proceedings. Probate proceedings provide a means to pay off debts or to bar creditors from reaching estate assets. Wills can contain testamentary trusts that provide benefits for named beneficiaries for their lifetime or for a specific time period.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney names an agent for you should you be unable to act on your own behalf for financial or legal matters. Powers delegated are specified in the document itself. This document ceases to have any authority at the moment of death. A Power of Attorney is a vital legal document for any adult to have in case of an accident or injury and can help avoid costly guardianship proceedings.

Health Care Surrogate Designation

This document names someone to make health care decisions, such as whether to perform medical procedures, if you are unable to respond or consent. The document specifies the types of decisions that are delegated. This is another important legal document to have in place in case of an accident or other medical emergency.

Living Will

A Living Will memorializes your wishes relating to end of life decisions and the types of medical procedures you would approve. This document is only used if there is a terminal condition, end-stage condition or you are in a persistent vegetative state. A doctor must have determined there is no reasonable medical probability of recovering capacity before the Living Will takes effect and life-prolonging procedures are withheld or withdrawn. This is not the same as a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO).

Disclosures

We do not practice law, draft legal documents or provide legal advice. Acting as an unbiased third party, we will interpret legal documents and apply relevant Trust law to follow your intent and properly and efficiently execute your trust and estate plan.

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