Even though creating an estate plan is essential for everyone as soon as they turn 18, it’s never too late to begin the process. Even if you have already retired or are a senior who doesn’t have a plan, you can begin estate planning in Minnesota as long as you remain mentally capable.
Once you decide to make an estate plan in Minnesota, it’s best to approach the topic as you would anything else. In other words, you need to do your homework. Your estate planning lawyer will give you advice and explain the important details to you, but you will feel much more comfortable with the estate planning process if you take the time to learn a little more about it. To help you do this, here are several common questions that many people have about estate planning.
What, exactly, is an estate?
When many people hear the term “estate planning,” they believe it has something to do with managing large pieces of real estate. This is not what estate planning is. Your “estate” is simply all the property you have. Whether it’s personal property, money, real estate, or anything else, your estate represents all of your possessions and concerns. Should you die, or become unable to manage your own affairs, your estate will either have to be redistributed to new owners or managed by someone who can make decisions on your behalf.
I’m not sick or old, so why do I need an estate plan?
Everyone dies. Most people die at the end of a long life, but no one has any way of knowing when their time will come. Not only that, but people can become ill, injured, and unable to manage their own affairs. There may also come a time when you, even though still capable, will want someone else to make decisions for you or represent your interests. In all of the above situations, an estate plan will allow you to choose what happens. Failing to have a plan means you will rely on someone else to make those choices for you.
Can’t I simply make my own estate plan?
Of course. As with any other legal process, you are not under any obligation to hire an attorney to help you. There is no law in North Dakota or Minnesota that says you have to, for example, hire an estate planning lawyer if you want to create a last will and testament.
But using a lawyer to provide you with advice and guidance throughout the estate planning process is essential. There is no way that the average person can create a plan suited to his or her own needs without first understanding all the complicated issues involved in the process. An estate planning lawyer who has experience and knowledge is your best option when creating a plan.
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