Estate planning can be a difficult, stressful, process for anyone that is not able to afford help. It is easy to put off the entire process once things begin to get complicated. No matter how frustrating estate planning in North Dakota can be for someone just getting started, the process must be completed. This planning is especially important if you will be leaving behind dependents.
Most people focus on caring for children and grandchildren after they pass. It is easy to forget about parents, grandparents, and even siblings that are dependent upon your care. Many individuals have elderly parents or grandparents that live in assisted living facilities paid for by children. Even siblings sometimes have to be cared for in facilities if they are physically or mentally disabled.
There are also less extreme situations that should be planned for. Some family members simply need additional financial support which you might have been able to supply for long periods of time. It is easy to assume that this support will continue after you are gone but unless you have created a will providing for extended support it will not be guaranteed.
In the state of North Dakota parents are only considered heirs if no children are born to an individual. Siblings are considered as heirs last of all. In many situations parents only inherit after going through a long period of legal wrangling as a court attempts to decide how to dispose of property.
Things get much more difficult if an individual is married when they pass away. The majority of the estate automatically goes to the surviving spouse. Even if the individual has children the spouse will get the entire estate if the children are also the children of the surviving spouse. The spouse will only be required to share one-fourth of the estate with parents after receiving the first $200,000 of the estate and three-fourths of the remaining estate.
There are ways to protect those who depend on you with estate planning. Name any family member you want to inherit as a beneficiary of retirement accounts and life insurance properties. Also hold property you wish them to inherit in tenancy in common which will give them rights to the property. Leave clear instructions in any wills, living trusts, or powers of attorney guaranteeing the continued support of your family members.