Gaudy Law estate planning documents, what are they?
These can be received in the mail or uploaded into your My Case account.
Let’s do an overview of the documents.
The first thing you’re looking at is your living trust. This is the document that keeps you out of probate. As you are looking through it, look for the big parts. The, “who gets what?” The, “who’s in charge?” The first pages are going to talk about things like your family, that you can revoke the trust, you can amend the trust, what happens during your life, what happens after the first one of you passes away, and what happens after you pass away. It also discusses what happens after both you have passed away and how that affects your kids and any specific gifts that you’re giving. This is usually in sections four and five.
The second half of the trust is all about who the trustees are, or who’s in charge? It can be you and your spouse or you if you’re a single person. Then list who you are naming after that.
The last thing to look at on the trust is usually the back page, which is the schedule of assets. It has a list of the things that you are putting in the trust.
You do not need to read every word of the document. But if you like to, this is the time to do it now. The great thing about My Case is that you can comment and ask questions on every document.
The second document is your will. People may think, “Why am I doing the will? I thought I was doing a trust.”
A will serves a different purpose. It gives details about your family like who the guardians of minor children are going to be. It also has an area to list what you would like added to your trust after death if it was forgotten in the original trust. That’s why it’s called the pour-over will and serves as a backup.
The Advanced Healthcare Directive and the Durable Power of Attorney are two really important documents. They state that if I become incapacitated or lose my ability to think for myself, and a doctor has written a letter saying so, I want whoever I’ve named to act as my agent and make decisions for me to protect me. It’s usually a spouse if you’re married and then children. This only takes effect upon your incapacity.
In the advanced directive, this person is your agent. The most important part of this document is usually on page number three in the section titled, End of Life Decisions. It talks about what your wishes and states, “I recognize that medical technology can keep me alive beyond natural limits.” Usually, there is a provision that we’ve suggested and have initialed. It is highly recommended everyone read that.
The other document that goes with that is the power of attorney for financial decisions. There’s a term in here I always like to explain called, “I give my attorney in fact.” This is the same as the word agent in the advanced directive. It is the person that you’ve just you’ve appointed to make decisions. The difference between the two is this is for the health care side and the other is for the financial side. As you read through the power of attorney for finances, it goes through every type of financial institution or asset you could have and says, “Make good decisions on my behalf if I can’t”.
The last document that is usually uploaded is what’s called a Quitclaim Deed. During the original meeting we have with our clients, we always tell them we are going to transfer their property. We transfer their real property, whether it’s one or more deeds into the trust via quitclaim deed. It’s just a way of saying I transfer anything I own and this property over to my trust. This is very important because that is how to avoid probate after passing.
There’s also a document we send called a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report. Many times this is not uploaded, but it’s something that you’ll see when you sign. It says, “Hey, let’s preserve our property tax basis when we transfer the property into the trust”.
Those are the documents you’re going to be looking at when they are uploaded initially. It’s very intuitive and our program drops them in a really basic way. If you have any questions you call us. Put comments on your My Case Account or ask us when you come in.