December 4, 2023 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for December 4, 2023

Anne Rhodes – Estate Planning in Retirement – Simplified

Listen in to learn about the importance of documents like the HIPAA form, certification of trust, and why you should consider a trust versus a will. You will also learn how is set up to reduce estate planning friction and simplify estate planning for financial advisors and their clients.


Estate Planning in Retirement – Simplified

Estate planning is a topic we often discuss with our clients. If you’re in the middle of retirement planning and trying to secure your retirement, an estate plan is something you want on your “to-do” list. Anne Rhodes, the Chief Legal Officer of, joined us on our latest podcast, where she provides a simplified rundown of estate planning for our audience.

Estate Planning – Simplified

Estate planning is a topic we often discuss with our clients. If you’re in the middle of retirement planning and trying to secure your retirement, an estate plan is something you want on your “to-do” list.

Anne Rhodes, the Chief Legal Officer of, joined us on our latest podcast, where she provides a simplified rundown of estate planning for our audience.

What Core Documents Make Up an Estate Plan?

Everyone – no matter the size of the estate – can break their estate plan into two large buckets. 

  • Bucket 1: Passing Away and Death: Who will step into your shoes? Who will help distribute these assets? Where are these assets going?
  • Bucket 2: Incapacity: Incapacitation remains a serious question because if you’re no longer able to make decisions on your own, you can assign someone you trust to assist you in this area.

Documents in a standard estate package should include a will, even if you have a living trust. Both a will and a living trust are key components of an estate plan. Even if you have a living trust, you’ll need a pour-over will.

A pour-over will is what initiates your asset transfer into a living trust at the time of your death if they’re not already in the trust.

You have a whole other set of documents that you need to think about with incapacitation:

  • Financial Power of Attorney: A financial document that allows someone to have signature authority over your matters for any financial documents that you must sign.
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive: This document may be called something else, such as a healthcare proxy or healthcare power of attorney.

HIPAA Form Purpose

A HIPAA document is a great example of a healthcare directive. When it comes to medical privacy, your agent acting on your behalf with an advanced healthcare directive does not have the power to access your private medical records unless the HIPAA is signed.

If your doctor does not have a HIPAA release on file, they cannot share pertinent information with the person that you want to make medical decisions on your behalf.

As you can imagine, if the person handling your healthcare decisions cannot access your medical information, they cannot make the best decisions for you.

Certificate of Trust

A certification of trust, also known as a certificate of trust, accompanies a living trust. This certification accompanies a living or revocable trust. What this certification of trust does is allow your bank to know that:

  • Your trust exists
  • You’re the trustee
  • The trust is 100% legitimate 

A certificate of trust is very important for streamlining your trust and ensuring that there are no issues along the way.

Trust vs. a Will

A living trust and revocable trust are the two most common forms of a trust because they’re a substitute for a will.

If you die without a will, your estate will go through a process called “probate.” Even if you have a will, your estate may still go through probate. A judge will be assigned during probate and must sign off on asset transfers. As you can imagine, involving a judge in every decision can take a while – especially in some states.

Court systems are handling a lot of cases, and if you’re in one of these states, a trust can help you avoid probate.

Probate also goes through the public system, which allows anyone to dig in and find information on what transpired during the probate process. In terms of privacy, you can keep much of your estate planning private with the help of a trust.

You may also have a trust because:

  • You own multiple properties across many states
  • You want to avoid probate in each state where you own property

If you secure your retirement and want to keep your estate out of probate, a trust is one of the best ways to achieve this goal.

Attorney Estate Planning vs (or similar platforms)

Digital platforms allow us to offer a simplified process of estate planning to our clients. Some clients are unsure if using an online platform like is the same as working with an estate planner. provides access to financial planners and similar professionals, streamlining the way that people create an estate plan.

Most people in the US can use and go through the entire estate plan on their own. You must fill in forms online, which can speed up the process to make it much faster than working with a lawyer one-on-one.

Anne’s company,, has had 70+ platform reviews from legal professionals, ensuring everything is accurate.

You can create a trust in 36 minutes with a platform like, breaking down barriers that exist with meeting with a lawyer.

 Can all families be helped with an online platform like

No. There are special case examples where we cannot serve certain families well, such as special needs children. is undergoing a survey to better help these clients. If, during the onboarding process, you answer that you have one of these situations, you will be prompted to find someone who specializes in these areas.

Do online platforms offer any personal help?

You may have one-off questions that you need answered when forming a trust, creating a will, and so on. Many platforms will not provide direct assistance in this area, but they may have an attorney network who will be available to you. vs other platforms

We’ve seen many legal platforms that attempt to help in numerous areas of law, and this is where things can kind of get messy. focuses on estate planning only and has built a team that can help in complex estate matters, whereas many do-it-all platforms cannot.

Since you must connect with financial advisors to use the platform, you also receive additional help you wouldn’t otherwise.

Note: You need to work with a professional advisor, like Peace of Mind Wealth, who grants you access to and can walk you through the process. If you just go to the website, you won’t be able to access the wealth of tools available.

Once you’ve filled out all the estate planning documents, printed them out and notarized them as needed, your estate plan is in place.

If you’re interested in financial planning and want to add an estate plan into the mix, feel free to reach out to us.

Click here to schedule a call with us today.