This guide provides a list of the typical documents that make up a California estate plan. Costs for this plan vary from attorney to attorney, as well as on the complexity and size of the estate.

1. Revocable Living Trust

A living trust, also known as a Revocable Living Trust or a Family Trust, is a legal document that holds title or ownership to your real property and assets. In the event of your death or incapacity, a successor trustee is named to immediately step in and handle the assets in accordance with your instructions.

2. Pour-Over Will(s)

A pour-over will (1) is where you nominate Guardians for your minor children and (2) will direct any property left out of the trust to go into the trust for disbursement. This must go through probate if over $100,000!

3.  Assignment of Personal Property

This one-page document transfers your personal property into the trust – this is an optional document especially useful for single people who don’t anticipate transferring property to a spouse on their death.

4.  Quitclaim Deed

This document, recorded in the County Recorder where the property is, transfers your real property from you to you as trustee of the trust. Most attorneys will handle the primary residence without additional charge.

5.  Advance Health Care Directive

This document names an agent (also called an attorney-in-fact) to make your health care and living decisions should you be incapable of making them yourself. This document replaces the previous “living will” and “durable power of attorney for health care” documents.

6.  Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management

This Power of Attorney names an agent to make your property decisions and handle property matters should you become incapable of handling them yourself. This includes such powers as: filing lawsuits on your behalf; filing your taxes; and, applying for government benefits.

7.  Certificate of Trust

This is like an ‘abstract’ of your revocable living trust. It specifies the trustees and their powers without including all of the private provisions of the trust. You can use this Certificate of Trust to show account holders like banks and portfolio managers that you have the power to deal on behalf of the trust, without revealing the personal details of your estate plan.

Additional Resources:  If you’d like more information, call the Law Office of Daniel K. Printz right now at (858) 740-4370.