Planning for the future is an essential step to assuring your own stability and security. This is clearly true for while you are alive, but estate planning is also essential to ensuring the stability and security for your family and loved ones after you die. One of the most straightforward and well-known of the estate planning steps is to draft a valid last will and testament. Without a last will and testament, your estate will be distributed according to the Minnesota laws of intestacy. This means that the law will determine who will receive your assets after you die. There are several reasons why allowing your estate to be distributed according to the laws of intestacy is a bad idea.
The first is that allowing your estate to be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestacy means that you relinquish all control over who gets your assets. Minnesota intestacy laws provide a very specific “flow chart” of which relatives will inherit your assets after your death. There will be no provision made for the fact that you may not have intended a particular relative to inherit, and no preference shown for those you believe are more deserving of inheritance. For example, if you have been estranged from your child for a decade, that child will still inherit from you even if you would have preferred for your long-time partner to inherit instead.
Another reason that allowing your estate to pass through the laws of intestacy is a bad idea is because it could result in unintended consequences for your heirs. This is especially true where your heirs are dependent on state assistance, such as Medicaid. If your heir inherits a large chunk of assets outright, it could mean that he or she is no longer eligible to receive state benefits. If your heir loses eligibility for benefits, he or she will just have to use your assets to pay for treatment or other services independently until they are once again eligible.
Finally, if you fail to draft a will and your entire estate passes according to the laws of intestacy, the court will have no guidance as to who you want to care for your minor children. Although a will cannot make a definite order of where your children should go, it can provide the court with your input as to what is in your children’s best interest.
We have extensive experience helping our clients draft an effective last will and testament. Call us today at 651-413-9568 to talk about your case.