Even though you may not like the answer, the reality is that these types of decisions will be made largely without your input. All states have laws that address what happens to people when they are incapacitated, as well as what happens to the property left behind by the deceased. In Fertile, if you don’t have an estate plan in place, you allow Minnesota laws to make your choices for you.
Estate Planning in Fertile MN
One of the most commonly encountered estate planning law addresses who inherits your property should you die without a will. If you die without a will and leave behind property, state intestacy laws determine who inherits that property. Every state has its own intestacy statutes, and though many of them are similar, they differ significantly depending on the state in which you live.
Minnesota intestacy laws direct that your property will be transferred to your closest surviving relative after you’re gone. Depending on your circumstances, this could be your spouse, your spouse and your children, your parents, your siblings, or more distant relatives.
If you are incapacitated and do not leave behind powers of attorney, medical directives, or other estate planning tools that address incapacitation, a state court will have to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs. Guardians, sometimes known as conservators, are responsible for managing your day-to-day tasks, as well as your financial and property management duties.
All states have laws that determine who becomes an incapacitated person’s guardian. For example, in North Dakota, the courts will give priority to guardians in the following order: first to a person named in the durable power of attorney, second to a spouse, third to an adult child, fourth to a parent, and so on. The court’s first choice is to give the responsibility to someone the incapacitated person selected through a power of attorney, but it will name a guardian regardless of whether the incapacitated person made that document or not.
Whether you’re talking about an adult guardianship for an incapacitated person, or intestacy laws that predetermine who inherits your property if you don’t have an estate plan, these default rules allow states to easily deal with estate planning issues. Even though every state has tools that allow you to make your own choices, most people never get around to using these tools. Because of this, states have enacted the safety net laws to catch all the cases where people have not made their own decisions clear.
In other words, your estate planning choices are something you can choose to take control over. But if you don’t, your state laws will decide for you.