Living Wills and Trusts

Living wills and trusts cover very different sets of values and wishes. Having both in place can add to your peace of mind.

Living Wills allow you control over you last days

A living will is a document that states and protects your wishes should you not be able to voice your opinion about health care decisions. Though we often wish otherwise, life can bring surprises and challenges to our health that place us in a situation where we must turn to a tool other than our ability to speak our medical wishes aloud. Such unexpected occurrences include terminal illness and sudden stroke, to name a few.

We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to make decisions that bring us dignity. Living wills allow us to make those decisions while we are thinking clearly, rather than add undue stress upon our loved ones down the line. Living wills allow us to outline, in clear terms, when and how we want medical providers to prolong our lives or to allow us to let nature take its course. It is not always an easy task to plan ahead for, but I believe we should exercise our right to spend the last days of our life as we wish.

Wills and Trusts need diligent attention

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Trusts carry out your wishes on your behalf

There is often a lot of confusion about what a trust is or can do. Trusts are a type of legal entity that you can transfer your assets to, in order to protect them (either from the probate court or from an unwanted court-appointed financial manager in the event of incapacitation). Because you ‘own’ the trust, you still ‘own’ the assets, but creating a trust can allow you a certain financial leverage that could be of benefit to you and your loved ones. While there are many types of trusts, revocable living trusts are the most common.

Revocable Living Trusts

Unlike a will, a revocable trust states what happens to your assets during your lifetime, provides for incapacitation, and instructs how your assets should be managed upon death. The trust, which holds your assets, is managed by a trustee. You can appoint yourself or another to be the trustee. Appointing someone you trust to be the co-trustee or successor trustee provides you a lot of latitude. You can:

  • Ensure that, despite mental or physical infirmity, your assets are handled how you desire, as the successor trustee will be able to act in accordance with your legally defined wishes.
  • Choose a successor trustee who will help protect your family from financial mismanagement or disruption as family members diverge on how to handle your affairs.
  • Protect your assets in a way that gives you easy ability to make changes as you see fit.

Revocable trusts take some careful footwork to set into place. However, they give you a lot of options for how to handle your estate.

An Attentive Attorney Carefully Plans Your Wishes

Putting off decisions about living wills or trusts could add to the heartache of your loved ones down the line. These sorts of decisions should be handled with care and tailored to the individual. I will work with you to find the best set of tools for you and your loved ones.  Check out this estate planning checklist to help get the process started.

Ensure Your Voice Is Heard

Many assume that their loved ones already know their wishes. This may be true, but state laws dictate the way your assets are distributed if you pass away without leaving behind a will or trust. Don’t let the government control your legacy. I work to empower you to make your own decisions so that the years ahead are smooth for both you and your family alike. Schedule a free consultation below to begin drafting these crucial documents today.