Are estate plans only for rich people?
There is indeed a concept among Minnesota residents that estate planning is not necessary for those without significant financial assets or property wealth, but the truth is that a truly effective and comprehensive estate plan will cover more family issues than mere finances. Those who are advanced in age and have wealth that they want distributed according to their wishes will all have need for a good estate plan, but there are other legal matters that can arise when something goes wrong or the primary asset holder becomes incapacitated in any way. We do not know the future, which is why we should be prepared for it. This includes all social classes, and here are a few things all should consider.
Minor child guardianship
Bad things can happen when parents die intestate and the decisions regarding their dependent children are left to state law. This is not only a decision that impacts short term family issues, but could well be a problem for years to come if they have an inheritance. Guardianship and disposition of minor children should always be included in any estate planning process.
There are many Minnesota families who own minor to moderate real estate and personal property. Even items of sentimental value can be included in a thorough estate planning and inventory of ranging from real estate holdings to antique vehicles.
Contingency power of attorney
Another important element of an estate plan can be designation of powers of attorney for both financial and health decisions. The choice of a power of attorney is very important, and should only be assigned to those closest to the estate planner.
The real legal issue for many Minnesota families of modest means is avoiding the probate process when dying intestate. Probate exposes all assets to collection from both tax assessors and creditors, and a solid estate plan will focus primarily on probate avoidance while including all wishes of the primary asset holder. Never think estate planning only applies to the rich. Everyone needs to at least establish a last will and testament even when a full estate plan is not necessary.