Understanding The Many Benefits A Trust Can Provide
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.
Finally, trusts provide for you should you become incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs. I am Christopher D. Graham, and at Bailey Law Firm, I work closely with you in funding the trust, an essential task that is often overlooked.
Because a trust is so dynamic, it can be drafted to handle many different things. A trust may be created to administer specific items, such as IRAs, firearms or your pets. A trust can be created to care for a family member with special needs 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 your death. I 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.
What Documents Are Included In A Revocable Living Trust Package?
At Bailey Law Firm, your revocable listing trust package may include the following legal documents:
- Revocable living trust (RLT): The cornerstone of an estate plan, this document includes your instructions for managing your assets while you are alive and for distribution when you die. You name a trustee to manage your assets and follow your instructions. Most people serve as their own trustee while alive and are succeeded by a family member. Your RLT is the tool allowing your estate to avoid Arizona probate and can provide asset protection against creditors for your spouse and loved ones.
- Pour-over will: Typically a pour-over will is used for ensuring your assets which were not transferred into your trust to be “poured over” into your trust upon your death for proper distribution. This instrument is also for those who may have minor children to nominate a guardian and conservator for their children.
- Living will (end-of-life care): This important instrument is where your express your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical procedures to keep you alive by artificial means.
- Durable power of attorney for asset management: Used for assets not titled to your trust, this document gives the person you assign as your agent full or limited legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence. It is valid if you become incapacitated and terminates upon your death.
- Durable power of attorney for health care: Also called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney, this document allows you to assign someone you trust the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. You may also provide your instructions for funeral/burial and organ donation.
- 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): An optional document that instructs emergency personnel and medical providers of your wishes in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest.
- HIPAA release: HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) requires health care providers to be very careful about how they release health care information. This is essential 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. A HIPAA release allows you to name who will be able to have access to all of your information.
- 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 RLT must be properly funded to work. I will help you ensure that this important step is completed. I prepare the necessary forms, track the process and verify that all funding is complete.
- Real Property Deed: I 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.
Call 480-219-5000 To Schedule A Meeting
When you speak with me, Christopher Graham, I will answer your questions about trusts and provide personalized assistance to ensure your revocable living trust is tailored for your needs. Call or email today.