"Estate planning" includes directing how your family will be provided for financially, designating who you would like to have care for your family members (including minor children), and leaving a personal legacy after you have passed away. It can also include designating who you would like to have make financial and health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated either temporarily or long-term.
The attorneys at Chan Chow & Dai will help you prepare a variety of legal documents to accomplish your personal and financial planning goals, including Revocable Living Trust and Certification of Trust, Pour-Over Will, (Durable) Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs, and Advanced Health Care Directive. Our attorneys will also advise and assist you with the necessary transfers of property including Trust Transfer Deeds for real property and ownership of personal property.
When you have a Trust, you transfer your property into the Trust and you no longer hold your property as an individual but rather as Trustee of your Trust. During your lifetime you (and your spouse) manage your Trust and the assets held by the Trust. Typically, after the death of one spouse, the other spouse will continue on as Trustee and continue to manage the Trust and the Trust’s assets. After the passing of the second spouse, the Successor Trustee(s), which you designate ahead of time in the Trust documents, will either continue to manage the Trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries (for example, your minor children) or that person may distribute the Trust’s assets to your beneficiaries, if it is time to do so. One of the advantages of a Trust is avoidance of the probate process through the court, which saves time and money, and keeps your affairs more private.
A Certification of Trust contains only certain pertinent provisions of your trust. You can use this document to evince the fact that you have a trust, for example to banks or other who may need to know about the existence of your trust. It avoids you carrying your original trust around with you and keeps your beneficiaries and other personal information private.
A Pour-Over Will is a special type of will that works with your Trust to make sure your assets pass to your beneficiaries as you wish them to. Your Will is also where you designate who you would like to have care for your minor children in the event you were to pass away and what you would like to have happen with your remains.
A (Durable) Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs designates who you would like to make financial decisions for you and handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated, either temporarily or long-term. An Advanced Health Care Directive (sometimes also known as a Living Will) sets forth your wishes regarding medical care and treatment and indicates who you would like to have make those health care and treatment decisions should you become incapacitated, either temporarily or long-term.