What Should Your Estate Plan Include?
Estate plans can and should be highly customized, but most plans include the following provisions:
- A will or pour-over will: Your will is a formal document listing your property and your wishes regarding who should receive your assets. The only problem with a standard will is that it doesn’t always contain a complete list of assets. Thankfully, this unspecified property can be addressed in a pour-over will.
The pour-over will allows you to leave specific assets and property to named parties in your will and instructs the court that any remaining property should be put directly into a trust. The assets can then be distributed according to the provisions of the trust or at the discretion of the trustee. A pour-over will provides better “coverage” for all your property. And by moving it into a trust, much of that property is no longer considered part of the estate, thus greatly simplifying or eliminating the probate process.
- One or more trusts: These are powerful legal instruments that give you considerable control over how and when assets are distributed to beneficiaries. They can be custom-designed to meet a wide variety of needs, including providing for special needs children or holding assets intended for minors until they become adults.
- A living will/advance health care directive: A living will allows you to set the terms of your medical care in the event that you become unable to make or communicate those decisions yourself. You can specify which artificial life-support measures you consent to, if any, and when they should be used. This gives you more control over your medical care and prevents your loved ones from having to make some impossible decisions on your behalf.
- Designated powers of attorney: If you ever become incapacitated (unable to make or communicate important decisions on your own behalf), you’ll want to have someone you trust make those decisions for you. You can designate a durable power of attorney for health care (someone to make medical decisions not specified in your living will) and a durable power of attorney for property (someone to make nonmedical decisions on your behalf).
These are the documents and instruments that are likely to be found in most good estate plans. From here, we can add additional documents and tools specific to you and your family. It is part of our goal to create an estate plan that perfectly matches your needs and goals.
Contact Us To Get Started
At Tuttle & McCloskey, PC, we serve clients throughout the Fresno/Central Valley area in all aspects of estate planning. To set up an initial consultation, simply send us an email or call 559-500-3393.