There are four basic legal services that form the foundation of an estate plan for a married couple with children:
- a disclaimer will to equalize Oregon estate tax with a children’s trust included
- a power of attorney to provide for someone to manage your affairs while you are away or incapacitated
- a “living will”, which in Oregon is called an “Advance Directive”, that allows you to give specific directions about your health care in certain medical conditions and to name someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so
- Directions as to who should handle the disposition of your body.
To draft a will for you, I will need to review a lot of information that you may not have gathered in one place. This is in itself a first step in estate planning. The Family Information Sheet, found at the Forms tab above, is designed for you to work from. You can print it out and fill in by hand, or use the form that can be edited on your computer. DO NOT EMAIL THIS COMPLETED FORM BACK TO ME ! And please only include the last 4 digits of any Social Security Numbers. We will review it together when we meet, but since it will contain all the information that an identity thief would need to ruin your credit, it should be strongly guarded.
For more background on what a will actually is, I recommend you visit the Oregon State Bar web site, which incidentally also contains a treasure chest of free legal information on numerous topics that come up in people’s lives. For articles on the following topics click here. Completing the Family Information Sheet and educating yourself a little bit will go a long way to making the process of creating your will painless and even comforting.
Click here for some fundamental information about wills and the probate process.
Click here for a description of the powers of attorney. I can provide the form and tailor it to meet your needs, but the crucial decision of to whom you wish to give these powers is one that requires a lot of thought on your part. It is something you should think about carefully.
Click here for a good description of what is commonly called a “living will” and for more to think about:
While a power of attorney deals with property, an Oregon Advance Directive allows you to express your wishes about health care decisions and to entrust the authority to implement those decisions with someone you trust to follow your wishes. The form of an Advance Directive is dictated by Oregon statute, but some health plans print or publish their own forms. I like the Providence form because it has lots of space to write changes in, but Kaiser has its own, and all Oregon Advance Directives will look pretty much the same. Please look over the form, think about the choices you would like to make and check out some of the resources I have directed you to.
Oregon statutes provide for a special document to direct who is to control the disposition of a deceased person’s body. This helps funeral home directors know whom to take directions from.
An alternative to the disclaimer will is preparation and execution of a “living trust” and a “pourover will”. We can discuss that option when we meet. For more on this topic please click here. The advantages of the revocable living trust are well described in Suze Orman’s The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom in her Step 4 “Being Responsible to Those You Love”.
Remember that estate planning laws change from time to time, along with changes in your own life. It is prudent to revisit your estate plan every five years to ascertain if adjustments need to be made. Mack is happy to review your existing documents with you to see if your plan continues to be current and appropriate.