Pacific Legal, PC is a boutique California law firm; we provide comprehensive estate planning services and take pride in making the estate planning process easy, convenient, and affordable. You can enjoy the benefits of working with a licensed attorney to create an estate plan that protects your family – on your schedule, without paying exorbitant fees, and through a process that is designed to best serve you. Below, you will find descriptions of some key estate planning documents – what they are and what they do for you.
Revocable Living Trust. Like a will, a living trust is a legal document that includes your instructions re: what should happen with your assets when you die and who should be in charge of carrying out your instructions. Unlike a will, however, a living trust prevents the court from controlling your assets if you are ever alive but lacking capacity to make your own decisions. Further, unlike a will, a living trust allows your estate to avoid probate and provides maximum tax savings measures. When you create a living trust, you will also transfer your assets to your living trust (which you control). Your trust now legally owns your assets, and you designate a back-up trustee that will step in to manage your trust assets in the event of your incapacity or death.
Financial Durable Power of Attorney. This document gives your back-up trustee the power to manage any assets that are not owned by your trust, in the event you are ever alive but incapacitated.
Advance Health Care Directive. This is the document where you designate someone else to make your health care and personal care decisions, if you are ever unable to do so for yourself. In addition, you may also describe the personal care and end-of-life decisions that you would have made for yourself, if you had capacity.
Pour-Over Will. This document is, in effect, like a safety net to your trust. The pour- over will instructs your back-up trustee that, if you have inadvertently left an asset out of your trust, that assets should be distributed according to the terms of your trust (not according to California inheritance laws).
Guardian Nomination for Minor Children. This provision is added to your pour-over will, and effectively designates the person(s) you would choose to care for your children in the event of your death.
HIPAA Authorization. This provision is added to your health care directive, giving your health care agent the authority to request and receive your medical records.
Abstract of Trust. This document is designed to give financial institutions the information they need from your trust instrument. This keeps you from having to give them a full copy of your trust.
List of Assets and Instructions re: Transfer of Assets to Trust. In this document, all of the assets discussed in the estate planning process will be listed along with brief and easy-to-follow instructions to transfer those assets to your trust.
Personal Property Assignment to Trust. In this document, you will transfer your rights in your personal property (clothing, jewelry, furniture, etc.) to your trust, which will enable your trustee to distribute those things according to your instructions on your death.
Personal Property Additional Instructions. In this document, you may write in your own instructions with regard to specific personal items that are not listed in your trust (e.g., you may wish to write on this document that your wedding ring should go to your granddaughter on your death). If you ever change your mind about the distribution of a personal item, you can simply cross off that item and change the instructions in your own handwriting. This keeps you from having to pay an attorney to amend your trust every time you change your mind about where a personal item should go.
Trust Funding Instructions. This document gives detailed instructions re: how to transfer many different types of assets to your trust, some of which you may own when you create your trust, and some of which you may own in the future. This document is meant to answer questions that you may have in the future about how to handle transactions to ensure your trust is still working as you intended.
Instructions to Trustee. This document provides valuable instructions, advice, and tips for staying organized, to your back-up trustee, in the event you are ever incapacitated or deceased.