Trusts and Estates

What You Need
Someone who can listen to you, understand your estate planning goals, help you frame the issues and develop and implement a plan.

Our Definition of Estate Planning

“During my life I want to provide for myself and my loved ones if I become mentally incapacitated, and at my death I want to give what I own to whom I want, when I want, in the form that I choose them to receive it, and all at the lowest possible cost to me and my family.”

Typically, Estate Plans have the following key components

Last Will & Testament

A legal document that expresses a person’s final wishes regarding the disposition of their estate assets and the care of their dependents by appointing someone to carry out those wishes under court supervision. The primary functions of a Will are to pay final expenses, dispose of estate assets in an orderly fashion, and appoint a caregiver for minor children/dependents.


A fiduciary relationship with respect to property in which one person transfers legal title to property to another person who has a fiduciary duty to hold, protect and manage that property for the lifetime use of another person followed by the outright ownership of another person. Trusts can be categorized as Living or Testamentary and Revocable or Irrevocable:

  • Living
    A living trust is one that is created during the one’s life
  • Testamentary
    A testamentary trust is one that is created at one’s death, usually under their last will and testament
  • Revocable
    A revocable trust allows one to retain total ownership and control of the trust’s assets during their life and revoke and terminate it anytime
  • Irrevocable
    An irrevocable trust allows one to relinquish ownership and control of certain assets by transferring them into a trust that cannot be revoked and terminated

Power of Attorney

A legal document that allows a person to appoint another person with certain powers to make non-medical decisions for them in the event that they become incapacitated or otherwise unable or unavailable to do so themselves. Powers of Attorney can categorize as General vs. Limited, Hanging vs. Springing, or Durable vs. Non-Durable:

  • General vs. Limited – the powers can be broad or specific
  • Hanging vs. Springing – the powers can take effect immediately or only at the occurrence of a certain event, such as the Principal’s incapacity
  • Durable vs. Non-Durable – the powers can continue beyond the Principal’s incapacity or end at it

Advanced Medical Directives

The primary documents that allow one to plan for their incapacity during life:

  • Health Care Proxy
    A legal document that allows one to appoint another person to make medical decisions for them if they become mentally unable to do so themselves (i.e., unable to give their “informed consent” for medical treatment)
  • Living Will
    A legal document that expresses one’s preferences for “end of life” medical treatments and procedures that one would and would not want to be used to keep them alive if one is unable to communicate those preferences due to coma or being in a permanent vegetative state.
  • HIPAA Authorization and Release
    A legal document that acknowledges one’s privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and authorizes one’s health care providers to share “protected health information” (PHI) with their Health Care Agent so that the Agent can make informed medical decisions on their behalf if necessary.

Beneficiary Designation / Transfer on Death (TOD) Designation

A feature on certain types of assets (e.g., retirement accounts, life insurance policies, bank and brokerage accounts) that allow one to transfer those assets directly to another individual at death. These designations typically supersede what is stated in a will or trust, so it is important to review all beneficiary designations regularly to ensure harmony with one’s overall estate plan.

How to Get There

Little House Capital will work with you and your attorney, or coordinate with qualified outside attorneys, if necessary, to help ensure that your estate planning needs are met.

The information provide herein is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax and legal advice from your professional advisors. Legal information is not legal advice, and information may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. You should always consult with qualified legal counsel prior to implementing any personal estate planning. Little House Capital, LLC does not provide legal advice or legal services.

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