It is not unusual for people in Minnesota to procrastinate about making an estate plan. This can be a difficult subject for people to address, but it is an important one if you want to protect your loved ones.
While there is more to estate planning than simply passing your assets on to others, this is an important part of it. Not only does putting this information in a will, a trust or another document help ensure that your wishes will be followed, but it also helps reduce the likelihood of family conflict. If you do not have an estate plan, the state decides what happens to your belongings. If your plan is incomplete or unclear, this could lead to litigation and months or years of legal issues between your family members.
There are some other reasons that you need an estate plan. If you have minor children, it is easy to name a guardian for them simply by including this information in your will. Without this information, your family could end up enduring stressful and costly legal proceedings to determine who gets custody of your children.
An estate plan is also important in protecting you and your assets if you become incapacitated. Powers of attorney for finances and health care appoint people to manage these issues and make decisions for you if you cannot.
There are other reasons to create an estate plan. For example, the probate process is public. If you are concerned about privacy, you may want to pass most of your assets by trusts, beneficiary designations and other vehicles that do not require probate. Estate planning can reduce the tax burden for your beneficiaries and protect your assets from creditors and other threats if necessary.