The Necessities of a Complete Estate Plan
Getting your estate plan together can be one of the wisest decisions you make for the sake of your family. Ensuring your wishes are carried out and making sure that your family and assets are protected in the event of your passing can give everyone involved great peace of mind. But what should you include in your estate plan?
Here are the five most essential components of a complete estate plan that you should absolutely include when creating yours.
Perhaps the document most closely associated with estate planning, a living will is one of the most important parts of an estate plan and is the document that lists how you want your assets to be distributed upon your passing. A will enables you to list out your assets and the beneficiaries of them, ensuring that those named will receive those assets when you are gone and that your wishes are carried through.
Having a will is important if you prefer to have your assets distributed according to your wishes. Dying without a will means your estate becomes known as “intestate;” if an estate is intestate, that means that assets will be distributed according to state guidelines. If you want to be sure that your assets are passed down how you want them to be, be sure to have a will.
Trusts are similar to wills yet maintain a key distinction: trusts name a designated person in charge of your assets, and this person is known as a trustee. The trustee then holds those assets until a specific event occurs (this can be any event the person who creates the trust wishes, but it could also be when the person who creates the trust passes).
Trusts are beneficial in that your family is able to avoid probate, or the court process of passing down assets. Trusts also are private record, so they do have great benefit if you choose to include one.
#3: Power of Attorney
Something could occur that renders you unable to make decisions on your own accord; should this happen, you want to be sure that someone is able to act according to your wishes on specific issues. Having a power of attorney enables you to name someone (or multiple people) to make decisions related to your finances or other issues should you become incapacitated.
#4: Healthcare Directive
Similar to a power of attorney, a healthcare directive becomes active in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself; the primary difference between a healthcare directive and a power of attorney, however, is that a healthcare directive enables a named person to make medical-related decisions for you.
A healthcare directive means that medical professionals can share sensitive medical information with your named agents without violating HIPAA regulations. This also allows you to name how you want to be cared for should you need end-of-life care.
#5: Transfer on Death Deed
In the event that you do not wish to include any real estate in your will, you have the option of including a Transfer on Death Deed in your estate plan. This document allows you to name the beneficiary of real estate upon your passing and enables them to skip the probate process, saving them time and money.
Work with an Attorney on Your Estate Plan
Estate plans can be complicated to put together, especially if you have many assets that will need to be distributed or many beneficiaries who will receive these assets. It is best to work on your estate plan with the help of a Minnesota estate planning attorney who can help you ensure that your wishes will be upheld upon your passing. At Johnson / Turner Legal, our team of estate planning attorneys can help you craft a plan that meets your needs and provides your family with the best possible future.
Learn more by calling our Minnesota attorneys at (320) 299-4249 or by visiting our website.