Estate planning involves establishing documents which will detail your decisions should you become incapacitated, and those decisions regarding the disposition of your assets following your passing. Thus, a good estate plan would involve planning for both living and dying. Incapacity planning involves documents such as an Advance Health Care Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management. These documents, along with a living trust, are often enough to avoid the need for a Conservatorship in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to handle your own affairs.
While including provisions to handle incapacity, the Revocable Trust also includes language regarding your desires for the disposition of your assets when you pass away. One primary reason for a Trust is Probate avoidance and many prefer the privacy aspects of a trust as well as the simplified administration process (provided the family is not litigious). Special Needs Trusts can also be prepared to address concerns for disabled loved ones, or loved ones that are receiving public benefits. Irrevocable trusts are often prepared in conjunction with Long Term Care and Life Care Planning, as well as for public benefits planning.
Wills are still a necessary component of all estate plans. Wills can serve as the primary estate planning document, in which case a probate proceeding might be required. Wills can also serve to supplement to the Trust document (known as pour-over wills). However, one major purpose of a Will is to name the Guardians for your minor children.
Whether you need basic estate planning or complex estate planning, it is important to consult with attorneys who are familiar with all of these intersecting issues. We are skilled at explaining all of these complex issues to you, and assisting you with preparing an estate plan to address all of your needs.