Guardians and Guardianships

There is both a guardian of the person and guardian of the estate. The former is actual care and control of your minor children and the other is financial control. Often people choose the same person for the jobs. However, in some cases people separate it out; for example after divorce!

The key is naming guardians in your will so that there won’t be a mess or a fight after your death. The California probate code allows the Judge to make the decision that is in the best interest of the child. However, it will be presumed that you know what’s in their best interest so NAME YOUR GUARDIANS!

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California Living Trust Package

What documents should your California living trust package have?  A lot of clients think a trust is the only document. However, it’s not. Far from it!  There are a number of documents that a properly prepared California revocable “living” trust package should have. Here is a brief summary of each:

California Revocable Living Trust – The main document for sure.

Schedule of Assets – Typically attached to the trust but sometimes a separate document showing what assets are “in” the trust.

Pour Over Will – Yes, you still need a will. It’s very basic.

Nomination of Guardians – If you have minors you need a document to appoint guardians. It can be in in your will or a separate document.

Durable Power of Attorney – This covers financial and quasi-financial matters that are not covered by the trust.

Advanced Health Care Directive – This can also be called a “living will” or a Power of Attorney for Health Care.

HIPPA Release – The importance of being able to access your medical records is more important all the time.

Certified Extract of Trust – Some attorneys call it a “certified abstract.” It’s just a summary of the trust.

General Transfer – Not all attorneys agree on this one but to me it’s proper for most clients to have.

Deed – Some use a quitclaim deed and others a grant deed but, in any case, a DEED to transfer your real estate to your trust is important.

Transfer Letters – Sometimes we will prepare letters for banks and financial institutions to aid in the transfer of assets to the trust. In some cases it’s really easier if you can go into the bank in person.

Change of Beneficiary Forms – We will help you complete the needed beneficiary forms to make sure life insurance and other payable on death assets are properly connected to your trust.

Instruction Letter – We give you a letter which summarizes how assets should be owned in the name of the trust and also how beneficiaries should be titled to best carry out your wishes. 

Faux Leather Binder – That’s optional and not something we usually do. I am more worried about the quality of the DOCUMENTS than their storage receptacle!

Call me with questions about your estate plan!  -John