This document is the foundation of your estate plan. It states the following (a more robust explanation is included if you desire more information):
- Article 1: Who you and your family are;
- Article 2: Your assets will be subject to the trust;
- Article 3: Who will be the trustee if you cannot;
- Article 4: Who and how the trust can be amended;
- Article 5: How the trust is administered during your lifetime;
- Article 6: How the trust is administered after your death (this includes beneficiaries);
- Article 7: The powers the trustee has to carry out your trust;
- Article 8: Administrative provisions;
- Article 9: Particular definitions;
- Article 10: Tax provisions.
- Other: (1) Write out a list of your assets to give your successor trustee a fighting shot at finding your assets; and (2) Write out a list of personal property items (jewelry, heirlooms, etc.) that you want to go to particular people.
Certification of Trust: This is the short version of your trust that some financial institutions will accept in lieu of the entire trust.
This is the “oops” document that would put assets into the trust if you did not do so.
Power of Attorney – Finances
This allows someone to make financial decisions for you on non-trust assets during your lifetime.
Advance Health Care Directives/Power of Attorney for Health Care
Names the people to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. There are opportunities to give preferences on life support, organ donation, and funeral instructions on these documents.
This allows medical professionals to give information about your health care to people on your advance health care directive (among others) without violating privacy rights.
Wills: This covers non-trust assets
It gives any non-trust assets to your trust – effectively pouring them into the trust. These are called “pour over” wills for that reason. It also states who will be guardians of any minor children.
Property Agreement (For Community Property States Only)
This makes any jointly owned property community property, which gets the best tax treatment at death.
This transfers your real estate interests to your trust. The cost includes any county recording fees and the cost to obtain the last recorded deed.