Last Will and Testament
Last Will and Testament: A will contains a set of instructions explaining how you want your property to be distributed after your death. A will by itself is only the first step in a complete estate planning package. Without a will, your property will pass according to Oregon's intestacy statutes. Please call for an initial appointment to determine if current intestate rules comport with your wishes. Unlike a trust, a will does require that your estate be probated in most circumstances.
Revocable Living Trust
Revocable Living Trust (RLT): A revocable living trust is an arrangement you make for management and distribution of your property. Like a will, the trust is "revocable," meaning that you can modify or eliminate it at any time. These trusts are established by a written agreement or declaration which appoints a "trustee" to administer the property, and which gives detailed instructions on how the property is to be managed and eventually distributed. You can use your trust to avoid probate (court administration of property after death) or for guardianship (court administration after incapacity). A RLT works with a pour over will to ensure the distribution of your property as you desire. A RLT costs more up front than a will because the trust must be "funded", i.e. assets that pass via the trust must be legally titled in your RLT's name. Although, a RLT involves additional expense at the outset, the saving to your estate will likely significantly outweigh this initial expenditure.
Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)s: DPOAs are planning tools that may be utilized in the event of mental or physical incapacity. DPOAs authorize your agent to handle a wide range of business on your behalf, including banking, buying and selling property and making investments. By signing the DPOA you are not giving up the power to continue conducting the same transactions yourself. You still have the authority to handle your own business, but upon execution your agent can take care of your business affairs when you are unable.
The agency relationship created by a DPOA can be revoked
The authority given in a power of attorney automatically ends when the person who signed it dies. You can end the authority earlier by revoking it in writing. If you haven’t already, you may wish to add an alternate agent for purposes of your power of attorney.
Oregon Advance Directives
Oregon statutes require a medical advance directive to be completed in a certain form. In this document you may address many of the medical decisions that are required if you become seriously ill. In addition, Oregon’s Advance Directive allows you to choose a "health care representative" to make health care decisions on your behalf, if you become incapable of doing so.