In Minnesota, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your preference on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in Minnesota may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Minnesota
Estate plans in Minnesota almost always have these elements:
Will: If you've determined who you want to leave your property and money to after you die, you should make these wishes official, by writing a will. When writing a will, it's always a good idea to have the assistance of an attorney, since many problems can come up which might make the will much more challenging to implement, or they might even void it entirely. Common problems include ambiguities in the terms of the will (a term which is not precisely written, so it can be interpreted differently by reasonable people), as well as failure to follow the obligated formalities.
Power of Attorney: Sometimes, people fear that they may become incapacitated (because of injury, illness, or mental deterioration), and that they won't be able to make their own decisions. Fortunately, if you want, you can grant a family member or close friend (or someone else you absolutely trust) legal authority to make important decisions for you, if you are ever incapacitated. This is known as "power of attorney."
Funeral Arrangements: Your wishes on this matter should be made clear to whoever is in a position to implement them early on in the estate planning procedure, and should not be included in a will. Because a will is generally read days or weeks after the person dies, it may be too late by then to carry your wishes out.
Do I Need a Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney?
These decisions are typically considered extremely significant. For that reason, you will likely find that the cost of hiring a Minnesota attorney to be well worth its cost.
Interesting Facts About Minnesota
Minnesota, "The Land of 10,000 Lakes", is located in the Midwest U.S. It has a population of over 5 million people, who mostly live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, also known as the "Twin Cities". Minnesota boasts a healthy economy, mostly dependent on raw material supply, as well as finished products.
Minnesota is noted for its diverse social and political makeup. It consistently has a high rate of voter turnout and civic/community participation. Community interests are represented at the state capitol building located in Saint Paul. The state legislature meets at the capitol building, which has a marble dome modeled after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The elaborate dome is the second largest in the entire world.
The judicial system of Minnesota has three basic levels. Most claims are filed at the district court level, and appeals are heard at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The highest court is the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is also authorized to hear appeals in addition to complex legal claims. Minnesota's district court system is very extensive, with a total of over 270 district court judges. Minnesota also has two courts set up under administrative agencies, the Tax Court and the Worker's Compensation Court of Appeals.
Lawyers in Minnesota represent clients in all types of legal matters. Minnesota lawyers are knowledgeable of the state's court system, including the administrative courts. Attorneys in Minnesota also provide answers to legal questions and assistance with legal forms and documents.