The Foundation Documents

What are Foundation Documents?

Every plan for succession must begin with a solid foundation. In most circumstances, this includes drafting and executing documents that address the most basic needs of an individual, couple or family, including: wealth succession, care of minors or dependents and the designation of health care and financial representatives. These documents typically include wills, living trusts, advanced health care directives, and durable powers of attorney.

The Main Documents:

  • Will: A will is a traditional legal document which is effective only at death, and which among other things, names beneficiaries to receive assets (either by outright gift, by trust, or by a combination of both), nominates an executor for your estate and nominates guardians for your minor children. Often, wills contain a “pour-over” provision, which gives everything to the living trust. 
  • Living Trust: A living trust (also commonly referred to as a revocable inter vivos trust or a grantor trust) may be amended or revoked by the person(s) creating it during their life (as long as they are legally competent). The trust contains provisions for wealth succession and includes basic tax planning strategies.
  • Advanced Health Care Directive: An advance health care directive lets your physician, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or do not want at the end of life, your desire for organ donation, and how you would like to be buried. It also lets you designate agents to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are not able to do so yourself.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney allows you to select an agent to act on your behalf to make certain financial decisions. You may choose among various authorizations to give them and whether to make the power of attorney effective immediately or only in the event of incapacity.

Additional Services:

  • When appropriate, additional documents, such as a quitclaim deed, a grant deed, or county property tax filings will be prepared to accompany the foundation documents.