There are a number of reasons why someone may need an estate planning attorney. The truth is that there is a lot of misguided information about estate planning, so it is important to talk to an Minnesota estate planning attorney about your situation to protect your rights and your family’s future. What follows is a brief overview of the services an estate planning attorney from our office can provide.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning helps you protect your family when you are unable to. Together, we can customize the right estate plan for you and your family. We use a variety of estate planning tools, including: a will, trust, health care directive and power of attorney.
A will is a estate planning document that ensures that your property goes where you want after you pass away. If you die without a will, the state is left to distribute your property; perhaps in a way that you do not want.
A trust allows the trustee to manage your assets in the way you set out in the trust. It is often used to transfer assets to minors or anyone else in a controllable way. Trusts empower a “trustee” to control your assets while protecting assets from creditors. Tax liability can also be reduced.
A guardianship provision in your will tells the Minnesota courts who you want to be the guardian of your children when you pass away.
Health Care Directive
A health care directive — sometimes called a “living will ” — tells health care providers what your wishes are if you are unable to communicate. These documents can also appoint someone you trust to act for you as your “agent”. The directive empowers your agent to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
Powers of Attorney
A Minnesota power of attorney empowers another person to act for you, even if you are not present. A person named as your agent is given the right and power to make decisions for you. The agent may be granted the power to make decisions about your real estate or other property, banking transactions, operating a business, make insurance transactions, gifts, fiduciary transactions, claims and litigation, family maintenance or military service benefits. This can mean the agent is given access to your bank accounts in the event that you are unable to access them yourself. The agent can be empowered to access records, reports or statements of yours (or about you). This can be a useful tool in case you become incapacitated or otherwise unavailable for long periods of time.