What Are My Estate Planning Documents?


Estate Planning at the Rutherford Law Center is so much more than a will.  It is personalized attention to each client, and detailed answers to every question.  Our assistance doesn’t just end when you sign your documents.  We continue to be available to answer questions and provide telephone guidance for common situations. 

Your estate planning documents are meant to be used.  That is why we put them in a binder with extensive information, FAQs, guidance, brochures, and easy to find tabs to help your family get to the document they need quickly and without stress when its necessary.  Our estate planning is focused on you and your family in times of stress.

Every estate plan at the Rutherford Law Center includes the following for each person:

  • Personalized attention and meetings to ensure your wishes are followed
  • Will (including a contingent trust if you have children)
  • Memorandum of Disposition of Property
  • Living Will
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Medical Directives
  • Disposition of My Remains Directives
  • Information for My Family (easy resource about who to contact, what bills to pay, etc)
  • Guardianship Designation (if you have minor children)
  • Temporary Guardianship Designation (if you have minor children)
  • Extensive FAQs and instructions for how to handle the most common situations.
  • Brochures about the rules of powers of attorney and personal representatives.
  • Ongoing telephone support from the attorneys at the Rutherford Law Center for questions about the documents.
  • Online storage of a copy of all of your documents in case you misplace yours.

Call us at 303-431-0415 to get your no-cost, no-obligation phone conference with an attorney and intake forms to complete.

That’s a nice list and all, but what does it MEAN?  Below is a description of each document and why you need it.

Will. This document directs what will happen with your property upon your death. It determines who will receive which property, and which person will administer your estate. A will also includes guardianship designations for minor children if both parents die. Keep the original will somewhere safe but accessible and known, as we must file the original with the Court upon your death.

Contingent Trust: If you have children under 30, we need to protect them from themselves if they were to inherit a lot of money.  But there is no reason to go through the cost and time and accounting to have a full trust if you don’t know if its needed.  A contingent trust sets down the rules of what will happen if you both pass away and your money needs to be held in trust for your children.

Living Will. This document says what will happen to you at the end of your life ONLY IF (1) two doctors have certified in writing that you are in a terminal condition or (2) you are in a persistent vegetative state. This document states what and when medical interventions will continue or will be discontinued.

Medical Power of Attorney. This designates the person who will make medical decisions for you while you are alive, but incapable of making decisions for yourself. For example: if you are unconscious or if you have a condition that affects your ability to make decisions, your power of attorney will make decisions for you. However, if your mind is working and you are able to make your own decisions, they can’t override your decisions for yourself.

Financial Power of Attorney. This person can take actions on your financial accounts NOW (unless we have put something else in your document—rare). However, they are bound by the laws of acting in your best interests. They cannot use their estate for their own benefit (unless they are a spouse or you so directed). They can use this document to help you with checking, investments, taxes, or other financial issues.

Medical Directives. This document is intended to give your loved ones information about what you would choose if you could choose for yourself in various scenarios. This document is not enforceable in court, but is a guide for your family to make decisions for you.

Dementia Directives: It is estimated that over 50% of people will develop dementia in their lives. This document helps you family know what choices you want made at each stage of the dementia process if this happens to you.

Information for My Family: These documents are intended to help your family or friends know right where to go and what to do to help take care of you and your finances if you are incapacitated or die. It includes contact information for professionals, accounts, bills, family, and other information they need to know.

Digital Estate Planning: If you choose to fill this section out it will provide your family with knowledge of your passwords for accounts and technology.

Pay on Death/Beneficiary Review and Financial Snapshot: We will help you review the beneficiaries or POD (pay on death) information for your accounts to ensure that it is serving your long term plan and goals. We recommend that you also include the most recent statement of all of your financial accounts in your binder.

Memorandum of Disposition of Remains: Your family wants to honor your last requests, and this document tells them what they should do with your remains.

Parent or Guardian Delegation of Powers (if applicable). If you have a minor child, these documents direct who will make decisions and care for the children if you and the other parent are incapacitated or have died.

Contingent Trust (if applicable). This is a trust contained in your will that states that money will be put into a trust for the benefit of your children or grandchildren if your spouse dies before you do. It is not a real trust unless something happens to both you and your spouse.

Call us at 303-431-0415 to get your no-cost, no-obligation phone conference with an attorney and intake forms to complete.


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