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Estate Planning - Picture

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Estate Planning

Photo by William_Potter/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by William_Potter/iStock / Getty Images

last will and testament

A Will is a legally binding document which states the wishes of an individual after they pass away with regard to what happens to their estate and assets and who will become the guardian of any under aged children.  It is often created in conjunction with a Revocable Living Trust.



revocable living trust

A revocable living trust is an integral part of most estate plans and is often developed in conjunction with a Last Will and Testament.  Transferring the title of assets to a trust allows for your designated successor trustee to take the necessary steps after your death to honor your wishes while allowing your loved ones to avoid the complex, time-consuming and expensive probate process and to maintain privacy.  A properly drafted Living Trust can help protect your loved ones' inheritance from divorces, lawsuits and creditors.  Furthermore, if you become incapacitated, your designated successor trustee is able to step in on your behalf, eliminating the need for conservatorship proceedings.

power of attorney (health care proxy)

A power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy, is a legal document in which a person specifies and authorizes another person to make decisions on their behalf if they should become incapacitated.  This is often developed in conjunction with an advanced healthcare directive.


advanced healthcare directive (living will)

An advanced healthcare directive, also known as a living will, personal directive, advance directive, medical directive or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions they wish to have taken with regard to their health should they become unable to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.  An advanced healthcare directive is often developed in conjunction with another form of advance directive known as a power of attorney (health care proxy).