Estate planning is a very broad term in Mitchell, South Dakota, referring to a person's choices on issues that affect them and their family toward the end of their life. These might contain instructions for end-of-life care, as well as drafting a will or other document with the intent of disposing of one's property after their death.
One of the first things an estate planner will ask you about when you come to them for assistance is what you want to put in your will. A will is a document which says who is going to get your property after your death. Once it is proven valid, a will is binding, meaning that the beneficiaries get legal ownership of whatever is left to them. Obviously, if you have any interest in what is done with your property after you die, a will is going to be at the center of your estate plan. Nonetheless, it is rarely the only part of a solid estate plan.
In addition to a well-drafted will, a comprehensive estate plan should contain things like a living will (healthcare directives made in advance, in case you become incapacitated and unable to make or express such decisions), funeral instructions, and instructions relating to organ donations.
Most notably, an estate plan should give instructions on the care of your minor children. It should lay out who is to take custody of them, and, if possible, leave them a large sum of money to assist with this care. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the people who you want to take custody of your children, to make sure they can really take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Mitchell, South Dakota?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some basic considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
If you are young and unmarried, estate planning likely doesn't need to be on your radar, unless you are very ill, independently wealthy, or perhaps if you work in a very hazardous job, such as the military.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Mitchell, South Dakota is absolutely essential: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take many steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
If you are elderly, and have a massive amount of assets in Mitchell, South Dakota, estate planning may be more crucial at this stage of your life than any other. While estate planning deals with some morbid and unpleasant subjects (requiring us to confront the reality of our own mortality), it is essential if you wish to live your life secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for to the extent that your assets allow.
Do I Need a Mitchell, South Dakota Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Mitchell, South Dakota is not always confusing, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a considerable number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.