The Elements of an Estate Plan
You may know that you need an estate plan, but are not sure what that entails. At the Law Office of Carol A. Fauerbach in Folsom, we help people like you get started on an estate plan that protects you and your family.
An estate plan may contain several documents, which will vary depending upon your specific needs. An estate plan for people living in California often includes some or all of the following documents:
- Revocable Living Trust: A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a legal document that provides direction about how you want your estate to be managed and distributed upon the incapacity or death of you or your spouse. A RLT can be amended throughout your lifetime and can help avoid the need for costly and time-consuming probate.
- Will: A Will is a legal document that names one or more persons to manage your estate upon your death and provides for the transfer of property to beneficiaries. The type of Will that you have depends upon whether you have a Revocable Living Trust.
- Durable Power of Attorney: A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so yourself. Even if you have a Revocable Living Trust, you will need a Durable Power of Attorney to handle financial and legal issues that are not covered by your trust.
- Advance Health Care Directive: An Advance Health Care Directive allows you to designate an agent to make medical or end-of-life decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
- Guardian Nomination: This document allows you to nominate a guardian of your minor children if you become incapacitated or pass away.
- Property Agreement: If you or your spouse have separate property as well as community property, you may need a document to clearly identify separate vs. community property. This is particularly important in blended family situations to avoid conflicts after a spouse passes away.