Estate planning is the process of planning for the disposition of an individual’s assets in order for those assets to be distributed to intended beneficiaries at death. The estate planning process often involves family members, such as an individual’s spouse and children, however, can also include extended family in some cases. Documents signed pursuant to estate planning must be executed pursuant to strict formalities, which will be discussed here.
The following documents are typically executed pursuant to an estate plan: durable power of attorney for health care (along with a HIPAA release), durable power of attorney for finances, last will and testament, and oftentimes, a revocable living trust. Another common estate planning document executed with the estate plan is the life estate deed, which funds a revocable living trust with an individual’s primary home.
It is important to emphasize that the estate planning must be drafted in a certain way as well as signed or executed with certain formalities. The drafting should always be left to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. As for the signing formalities, the durable power of attorney for health care must be executed with two witnesses and a notary. The HIPAA document, however, does not require a notary, simply two witnesses. The durable power of attorney for finances, last will and testament and revocable living trust must also be executed pursuant to the same formalities as the durable power of attorney for health care. Specifically, that is two witnesses and a notary. Note that the marital revocable living must have both the grantor and the co-trustees sign and have their signatures notarized and witnessed. Finally, the deed must be executed with two witnesses and a notary. The notary may, however, be one of those witnesses.
Contact The Presser Law Firm, P.A. if you or a loved one is interested in having an estate plan prepared. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in estate planning, asset protection and business law.