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What Documents Are Included In An Estate Plan [VIDEO]

Hi, I’m Alan Khalfin, managing partner at Vaksman Khalfin. Today, I wanted to talk to you about what documents are typically included in an Estate Plan.

When preparing an Estate Plan, the first major decision is whether it will be a Will-based Plan or a Trust-based Plan. The documents differ slightly, and in most cases, we recommend that folks create Living Trust Estate Plans. In this video, I will take you through the documents that we typically include in a Living Trust Estate Plan.

  • The first and probably most important document is the Revocable Living Trust. This document helps you avoid probate for the transfer of assets upon your death as well as set up incapacity planning, appointing people to act for you if you lose the ability to do so.
  • In addition to the Revocable Living Trust, an Estate Plan includes a Pour-over Will. The Pour-over Will acts as a backup plan to your trust. In the event that you have forgotten to transfer assets to your trust during your life, the Pour-over Will makes sure that those assets get transferred after your death. However, that does happen through the probate court, so it is not an ideal mechanism. Also, the Pour-over Will is where you would appoint guardians for your minor children if you have minor children.
  • The next document that is included in the Estate Plan is a Durable Power of Attorney. This is a document that allows you to appoint financial decision-makers to act on your behalf should you lose the ability to do so.
  • The next major document is an Advance Healthcare Directive, this is a medical power of attorney where you appoint people to make decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself and you are also able to designate whether you’d like to end life, prolong life, donate organs, have cremation and various other matters.
  • Included with the Advance Healthcare Directive is the HIPAA Authorization Form which authorizes the agents that you name in your directive to receive and disclose your private healthcare information.

Those are the major documents and then there are a few others that you should be aware of.

  • The first is a Certificate of Trust. This is a short-form summary of your trust that you should provide to third parties if you’re ever asked to prove the existence of your trust. This is to be submitted instead of the actual trust, which you are not obligated to submit.
  • The next document is an Assignment of Personal Property, and this is how you transfer your personal effects to your trust, your art, your jewelry, your furniture, your electronics, and other things like that.
  • Next, we include Memorial Instructions in your Estate Plan as well as a Personal Property Memorandum that allows you to transfer and distribute tangible personal effects easily through a handwritten form.
  • The next document which is typically included in the Estate Plan is a Trust Transfer Deed, if you own real property, this is an exceptionally important document through which your property is retitled in the name of your trust in order to avoid probate.

All of these documents are conveniently assembled into a binder with tabs and great organization, which makes it very easy for you and more importantly, your successors to locate them when necessary. Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, please give us a call.

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"You will not be disappointed" John M.R. - Harrison, NY
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John M.R. - Harrison, NY