In South Dakota, "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 really 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 really implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these goals.
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 choice on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such choices for you, if you are unable.
A reliable estate planner in South Dakota 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. Additionally, 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 South Dakota
Estate plans in South Dakota almost always have these elements:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many pitfalls that can come up in the drafting of a will. Nonetheless, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Thus, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a seasoned attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: This is an arrangement that gives another person the power to make certain decisions, normally related to finances and medical care, on your behalf, if you become incapacitated or disabled, and thus unable to make or express your own decisions. You can choose who you give this authority to. For obvious reasons, it should be somebody you trust.
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 South Dakota Estate Planning Attorney?
These decisions are normally considered extremely significant. For that reason, you will likely find that the cost of hiring a South Dakota attorney to be well worth its cost.
Interesting Facts About South Dakota
South Dakota is the 40th U.S. state and has a population of over 800,000 people. Most of South Dakota is rural in character and has retained much of its agricultural foundation. The region is popular for its national parks and monuments. In particular, the iconic monument Mount Rushmore draws many visitors to South Dakota annually. Over time the state has incorporated other industries in its economy like financing and defense spending.
The judicial branch of South Dakota is composed of the state Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, and Magistrate Courts. Most lawyers in South Dakota assist clients through the Circuit Courts, as the Magistrate Court does not hear jury trials. The Circuit Courts have jurisdiction over both criminal and civil claims, and serve as the general trial courts for the state.
South Dakota has a complex body of case law. An influential South Dakota ruling can be found in South Dakota v. Opperman (1976), which defined the "community caretaking" functions of police forces. Under the Opperman ruling, police authorities must engage in "community caretaking", which includes duties like ensuring the safe flow of traffic. The case also discussed search and seizure provisions.
Lawyers in South Dakota represent clients in order to help them defend their interests and help them obtain legal relief. South Dakota lawyers can assist you with legal questions, represent you in a court of law, and help you with legal documents and many other tasks. Attorneys in South Dakota are well-known for their expertise in many areas.