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What doesn’t a will address?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2020 | Estate Planning & Probate

To take care of his or her family members, someone might decide to draw up a will. The directions in the will could provide guidance and financial support to survivors. Minnesota residents who worry about their surviving relatives must understand that, while valuable, a will does not cover everything.

A person could craft a will that states everything goes to one person. However, if a different person is named as a beneficiary in an individual retirement or bank account, that beneficiary would receive the money. If that is what the decedent wanted, then this outcome won’t be problematic. But is that what the person really wants? Does he or she assume the will overrides the stated beneficiary designations? That would not be the case because beneficiaries and joint account holders receive assets outside of probate.

Persons crafting a will must realize that the probate process requires them to pay off creditors before the distribution of assets. Perhaps the person drawing up the will may wish to take steps to deal with debts as best as he or she can while still alive.

What happens when someone suffers an incapacitating illness and ends up on life support? A will means nothing in this situation. The person is still alive. To designate one’s wishes in case such a situation arises, drawing up a living will, an advance health-care directive, becomes necessary. Without a living will, the decisions land on the shoulders of a loved one.

Drawing up power of attorney papers gives a trusted person the authority to make decisions regarding financial matters. Choosing the right individual to wield such power is vital as that person would have control over bank accounts and more. Power of attorney does end when the grantor dies.

An attorney could assist someone with estate planning by drawing up various documents, including a power of attorney form, a will and a living will. A family law attorney might represent a family in probate court as well as point out what assets don’t require going through probate.

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