Wills And Estate Planning Attorney in St. Cloud, Minnesota
There are many reasons to have a will.
First and foremost: A will lets you direct how your assets will be handled and who will handle them. If you die without a will, state law will direct who gets what. That may be what you would want, anyway; but it may not be what you want. The law will not take into account special circumstances that only you know. There may be good reasons to leave different amounts of money to different children. And something that may be appropriate in 2020 may not be appropriate in 2025. You can revise and update a will or trust to account for these changing issues.
Second and probably equally important: In a will you can nominate someone to care for your under-age children, and you can nominate one person to care for the child and a different person to care for the child’s money (if appropriate). You can also set up a trust under will (I often refer to this as a family trust will) so that your child gets his or her inheritance in stages – such as one-third at 18, one-third at 21 and the rest at 25. The idea is to provide that your child does not get all of his or her inheritance at once and have a big party on their 18th birthday or buy a red Mustang convertible.
Third, you can make special gifts. You can, for instance, leave money to a church or favorite charity. You can also leave money or assets to non-relatives, if you wish.
In addition to having a will, there are “probate avoidance devices. Two common such devices are a revocable trust (often called a “living trust”) and a transfer on death deed to transfer real estate after your death without having to probate your estate.
Feel free to schedule a meeting to discuss your needs and wishes.
In addition to a will, you should consider having the following two documents as part of your estate plan:
A Health Care Directive, which is a document that lets someone else make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make those medical decisions yourself. Most people name their spouse as their health care agent and then name one of their children as an alternate. It is important that the health care agent know that the directive exists and where to find it. There is a very simple form located at: https://honoringchoices.org/health-care-directives/english-directives
A Durable Power of Attorney permits someone to handle your affairs if you can’t. Many people think that they don’t need a Power of Attorney because their spouse is named as co-owner of bank accounts and is on the deed to the house. But a spouse cannot sign contracts, deeds, tax returns and other documents for you just because they are named as a co-owner on an account. Most people name their spouse on the power of attorney, and name one of their children as an alternate. It is very important, however, to know that a Durable Power of Attorney is literally a blank check, so you need to have the utmost confidence in the person you name. Every year there is a news story about a child who stole a lot of money from their parent. You can name two persons who are required to act jointly.
I can help you with these, if you wish. Feel free to visit with me, either in person or remotely.