2 Common Types of Wills and Estate Planning

Posted on: 24 August 2015

A wills and estate lawyer such as someone from Delaney & Delaney Solicitors is a professional who can help you plan the distribution of your assets, as well as make provisions in the event that you become incapacitated. If you are interested in setting up a will or planning your estate, here are two of the most common types of directives you can establish for yourself and your heirs.

Living Trust -- A living trust is a legal document that is similar to a will, but with a living trust there are no probate proceedings. Probate is a court process in which a judge supervises the distribution of your assets based on the stipulations in your will. It also includes paying off all your debts, including taxes, prior to dispersing your assets to named inheritors. With a living trust you can skip the probate process and also designate an administrator to take over the supervision of your trust if you fall ill and are not able to do it on your own. A living trust can remain private and sealed and is not subject to public disclosure, which isn't the case with a will. In addition, a living trust can be put into effect even while you're alive, whereas a will is only activated when you die. That means you can begin distributing your assets and property through the trust while you're still alive, something that isn't possible with a will.

Power of Attorney -- Power of attorney is a legal document that gives a person you designate the right to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters if you are not able to do so. But this right also covers instances in which you are away on business and not reachable, because the power of attorney gives the designee the same powers as you would have. For example, if you were not reachable and a check needed to be paid, the person who holds power of attorney can write out a check and sign it on your behalf. A person with power of attorney could also open a new bank account in your name, close a bank account in your name, invest your money or take your money out of investment entities such as stocks and bonds. Power of attorney can be revoked by you at any time by going to a lawyer and filling out a Revocation Notice that clearly states you are ending the power of attorney with the person who holds it. You must then give copies of this notice to all financial institutions so that they no longer honor the power of attorney.