Using An Estate Plan To Protect Your Family’s Welfare
If something happened to you and your spouse, who would you want to designate as guardians for your children? Every family it seems has some relatives they would want to care for their children as minors – and some relatives that they would not want. Does your will or trust provide for your spouse and children? Don’t wait till it’s too late.
Estate Planning Is Not A “One-And-Done” Project
Your family relations change. The laws change. The interpretation of how your family will be affected by these changes will also change. It’s a good idea to revisit your estate plan every three to five years to make sure that your estate plan will actually accomplish your current intentions for your estate.
Tailoring Your Estate Plan To Fit Your Needs
Your estate plan should address the facts of life, including death and disability. To do this, your plan may include:
- Health care directive (“Living Will”)
- Nursing home planning
- Power of attorney
- Supplemental needs trust
- Transfer-on-death deeds
- Conservatorship and guardianship
Benefit From My Experience
You probably wouldn’t ask a doctor fresh out of medical school to perform serious surgery on you. You should be sure that your estate planning attorney has the experience and expertise to deal with your family’s unique estate needs.
The team at Peterson Law Office, LLC has seen how estate plans succeed, how they sometimes fail. Attorney Peterson can help you choose which strategies are legitimate and which are mere gimmicks and you can depend on him to help you understand which legal options are the best fit for your unique estate planning goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Estate planning is for everyone. It is never too late or too early to prepare for the future of your loved ones. Below are some common questions and answers about estate planning.
What if I don’t have children? Do I still need an estate plan?
Even if you don’t have heirs, you should still designate beneficiaries to inherit your assets instead of letting the state decide. This can be a favorite niece, a cousin, a charitable organization or even a close friend. You should also designate someone close to you to serve as a power of attorney for health care and finances.
My husband and I have children from previous marriages, how can I ensure that my children will be taken care of?
The most important step you can take to protect your children is to have a clear estate plan including a will and possibly a trust that ensures your children will get their share of the assets. You can also name your children as beneficiaries in a life insurance policy, which does not pass down through a will.
My estate is very small, is an estate plan a waste of time?
No matter the size of your estate, you should still create an estate plan. For one, an estate plan may help your loved ones avoid probate, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Minnesota has a simplified probate process for small estates. The court may authorize an executor to distribute the assets without the normal probate process. However, this shortcut is not always a guarantee. A solid estate plan will ensure that your wishes for the distribution of your assets are followed.
My dad had an accident and can’t make medical decisions. My mom also can’t make medical decisions. He doesn’t have a health care power of attorney. What do we do?
If you don’t have a health care power of attorney in place, state law may choose who can make those decisions. However, if you have children, those decisions will typically pass to them. If you have someone specific in mind, you should include that decision in your estate plan.