A testamentary trust goes by many names- revocable living trust, family trust or trust fund just to name a few. It is a dynamic document that holds your assets and allows you to distribute those assets at your death to your family, to charity, or to anyone you choose in accordance with your instructions. Many people prefer a trust over a will because of the great flexibility in deciding how and when your property will be distributed. Another major plus of creating a trust is that if properly funded, your loved ones can avoid the hassle and expense of probate. We at Christopher D. Graham, P.L.L.C., work closely with you in funding the trust, an essential task that is often overlooked. Finally, trusts provide for you should you become incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs. 

Because a trust is so dynamic, it can be drafted to handle many different thing. A trust may be created to administer specific items, such as IRA's, firearms, or your pets. A trust can be created to care for a family member with special needs to to make charitable contributions. However, the most common type of trust is a revocable family trust that provides for the probate-free distribution of your property on you death. At Christopher D. Graham, P.L.L.C., we offer a Revocable Living Trust Package that suits the estate planning needs of most people. Of course, your estate plan will be customized to meet your specific situation and goals. 

YOUR REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST PACKAGE includes all of the following: 

Revocable Living Trust :  This is the cornerstone of your estate plan. The Revocable Living Trust contains your instructions for management of your assets if you are disabled and distribution upon your death. You appoint a trustee to manage your assets and follow your instructions. Typically, you will serve as trustee during your life and a family member will succeed you upon your death. The Revocable Living Trust allows your estate to avoid the hassle, delay and cost of probate.  The Revocable Living Trust can also provide lifetime asset protection against creditors for your spouse and loved ones.  

Pour-Over Will :  The Pour-Over Will is a safety net for any assets that do not get titled to your trust during your life to transfer them to your trust after your death. The Pour-Over Will is also used to appoint the guardian and conservator for minor children.  

Living Will (End of Life Care):  A written document that expresses your wishes regarding medical procedures to keep you alive by artificial means when the illness or injury is terminal. Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management:  A legal document that gives another person full or limited legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence. Valid through incapacity. Terminates at death. Used for assets not titled to your trust. 

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care :  A legal document that lets you give someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. May also provide funeral/burial instructions and organ donation. Also called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney.  

Mental Health Care Power of Attorney:  Arizona law requires a separate mental health care power of attorney for admission to a level one behavioral health facility. 

Pre-Hospital Medical Directive (Do Not Resuscitate): Instructs emergency personnel and medical providers of your wishes in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. [Optional]

HIPAA Release:  HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) requires health care providers to be very careful how they release health care information. All health care providers are required to make reasonable efforts to limit the release of protected health information to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the particular disclosure or request for disclosure. A HIPAA release allows you to name who will be able to have access to all of your information. This is especially important to have in your estate plan so that your medical power of attorney agent can have access to complete medical information in the event that they needed to make a medical decision on your behalf. 

Certificate of Trust:  The Certificate of Trust is a condensed version of the trust, including a summary or quotation of selected parts of the trust, that verifies the trust’s existence, explains the powers given to the trustee, and identifies the successor trustee. With a Certificate of Trust, the trustee does not have to present the full version of the trust, thus keeping information about the trust assets, beneficiaries, and their inheritances private.

Funding Plan and Assistance:  A Revocable Living Trust works only if it is properly funded. We work with you to ensure that this important step is completed. We prepare the forms necessary, track the process, and verify that all funding is complete. 

Real Property Deed: We will prepare and record a real property deed transferring you home into your trust. This transfer can be done either immediately or upon your death using a Beneficiary Deed. 

“My Wishes” Packet: This is a place where you can record your final requests for your family. Let your family know your wishes on handling your funeral, your obituary, who to notify, and where you kept your important documents.