Estate Planning in Minnesota

One of the parts of estate planning in Minnesota should always be creating a living will and powers of attorney. Unfortunately, these steps are often overlooked in favor of concentrating on wills. The problem with doing this is that incapacitation happens all the time and in these situations wills are absolutely useless. Unless a living will or power of attorney is present your family could find themselves in a very uncomfortable limbo.

Understanding Living Wills

Living wills have recently become popular in some states but still many people in Minnesota do not have them. A living will is a document that lets you chose an agent that will act as an executor for your estate if you are no longer able to manage your own affairs. This person has total control over what happens to you and also what happens to your property. The only problem with living wills in Minnesota is that they are not always considered legally binding and can sometimes be ignored if a strong legal fight is fought.

Understanding a Power of Attorney

There are two different types of powers of attorney that can be obtained when estate planning in Minnesota. The first type is a durable power of attorney and the second is a health care power of attorney. These powers of attorney give agents the legal ability to handle financial affairs with businesses, banks, and even the IRS. They are also able to authorize or deny medical treatments and can only be set aside by a court order. The only downside to power of attorneys is that they become legally valid the moment they are signed making them dangerous in the wrong hands. Only authorize a person that you absolutely trust to have a power of attorney.

A Will is Still Necessary

It is important that you do not forget to create a will. Living wills and Powers of Attorney are simply part of the estate planning process. They do not replace a will. If a valid will is not created then the estate can be seized and distributed according to Minnesota state law which favors a surviving spouse unless the spouse has children from another marriage. Failing to create a will could leave your family in the same bind they would have been in if you became incapacitated and no living will or power of attorney was present. When estate planning it is important to cover all bases.

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