Financial Documents

Joint Ownership Durable Power of Attorney Living Trust
What does it do? Enables you to own property jointly with another person Authorizes someone to handle legal and financial decisions if you become incapacitated Holds your belongings until your death
Can it authorize someone to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to communicate? Generally, no check Generally, no
Can it specify how you want your belongings transferred after your death? check
But only those belongings owned jointly
Generally, no check
Is it private? check check check
When does it go into effect? As soon as joint ownership is recorded Either immediately or upon a specific trigger event (such as your incapacity) When the document is signed and the trust is funded
Does it require court involvement? No No No

Health Care Documents

Living Will Power of Attorney Power of Attorney for Health Care
What does it do? Provides specific instructions about medical care and artificial life support Authorizes someone to handle legal and financial decisions on your behalf Authorizes someone to make health care decisions on your behalf
Can it outline your medical wishes if you are unable to communicate? check Generally, no Generally, no, but it does authorize someone to make medical decisions on your behalf
Can it authorize someone to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to communicate? Generally, no check Generally, no
Duration No expiration; can be revised or revoked at any time Depends on specifics in the document; can be revised or revoked at any time Depends on specifics in the document; can be revoked or revised at any time
Is it private? check check check
When does it go into effect? Upon your incapacity Either immediately or upon a specific trigger event (such as your incapacity) Either immediately or upon a specific trigger event (such as your incapacity)

Note: Power of attorney laws can vary from state to state. An estate strategy that includes trusts may involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. Consider working with a knowledgeable estate management professional before implementing such strategies.

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