Primary legal document list

These basic legal documents are easy-to-acquire planning tools that allow you to give directions regarding your own health care, life-sustaining measures, and to control the distribution of your assets at death.

Will

  • Instructs how certain property will be distributed or transferred at death
  • Creates a probate estate
  • Names an Executor who will carry out the instructions of the Will

Health Care Power of Attorney

Living Will

Organ Donor Directive

  • Written election to have any or certain organs donated at death, included in Living Will OH form above. This is also specified on your driver’s license.

Living (Revocable) Trust

  • Determines how specific property will be distributed or transferred at death
  • Assets distributed without probate court involvement
  • Names a Trustee who will carry out the instructions of the Trust

Assets that transfer by named Beneficiary (not included in or governed by Will or Living Trust) (Check beneficiary designations on each item below to verify that a current and accurate Beneficiary is named)

  • Life insurance policy proceeds
  • IRA account balances
  • Tax-qualified retirement plan account balances

Additional documents

These additional planning tools pertain to specific needs and circumstance. They are prepared by your legal advisor and/or financial consultant. These more sophisticated directives document your wishes for asset preservation, charitable intentions, care of special needs family members, tax strategies and transfer of wealth at death.

Irrevocable Trust
  • A trust that cannot be altered once created
  • Used for tax planning as well as estate planning

Special Needs Trust

  • Designates legal guardian and financial resources to fund the care of a special needs family member after donor’s death

Charitable Remainder Trust (Irrevocable)

  • Provides income during life and remaining funds to a charity of choice at death
  • Alternatively, provides income to a charity, and death benefit to personal beneficiary at death

Life Insurance Trust (Irrevocable)

  • Can contain life insurance and other assets, or only life insurance
  • Used for tax planning as well as estate planning

Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust

  • Typically used in second marriage situations for multiple family planning

Miscellaneous Documents

  • Ethical Will – not legally recognized, communicates personal values, beliefs, life lessons, etc. to family for posterity
  • Family Mission Statement – a statement of historic family values that provides direction for future generations of the family
  • Pet Provisions – can be included in will and/or trust, or may be a separate non-legal document given to responsible family member(s) regarding intentions for family pets in the event owner dies, and designating funds for that purpose
More Life Connect does not participate in the practice of law. The above brief list of documents and legal concepts are for educational purposes only. Your unique situation and needs, as well as your documents and related tax considerations, should be reviewed with your personal estate planning attorney and financial advisors periodically.
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