Sometimes called a “Last Will and Testament”, a will is a formal legal document expressing a person’s wishes as to what should happen to his/her property after death. Every state has a statute that governs the formality of the Will. Generally, there are legal requirements for signing the Will; the manner in which it is to be signed; whether witnesses are required, and if so, how and where the witnesses are to sign; people who are disqualified from being witnesses; amending the Will; and related issues (such as the effect of defacing a Will and revoking a Will). These rules differ from state to state. Any document which does not conform to these rules is not a Will.
After a person dies, the administration of that person’s estate is governed by state statutes, the Will, and the probate court. These estate proceedings tend to be expensive, lengthy, and public. For these reasons, many people desire for their intended beneficiaries to avoid the probate process after death. There are several ways this can be done and The Law Office of John C. Grundy can assist you with all options.
A Trust is simply a relationship where one person holds property for another person subject to the owner’s instructions. You could think of a Trust as a container or a box. A Trust is a box into which one may place different kinds of assets. The box itself is called the “trust”. The person who creates the box [“trust”] is called a “grantor”. The person who holds the box, and the assets in it, subject to the grantor’s instructions is called the “trustee”. The set of written instructions is called the “trust agreement”.
There are many different kinds of trusts, but all trusts share at least five characteristics: a grantor, a trustee, a trust, a trust agreement (sometimes oral, although this is not preferred), and assets in the Trust. Assets in the Trust can be referred to as “principal”, “corpus”, or “res”, but the term I use is “trust property”.
Our Estate Planning Attorney has legal experience with all areas of Trusts including but not limited to:
- Living Trusts
- Testamentary trusts
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Probate Avoidance Trust
- Special Needs Trusts
Power of Attorney
This is simply a document where you give someone the authority to act on your behalf to do specific things for you. A power of attorney can be “limited” which means that it gives limited power to another person to do very specific and limited things. For example, you might give limited power of attorney to another person to sign a deed transferring real estate on your behalf if you are not able to attend the real estate closing of the sale of a piece of real estate you own.
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A power of attorney which is not “limited” is said to be “general”. General Powers of Attorney are intended to give very broad powers to another person to do “anything” on your behalf that you could do if you were present. If you or a loved one has questions regarding Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney please contact the Law Office of John C. Grundy today at 330-637-9030.