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Estate planning needs attention to choice of representatives

One of the biggest challenges in Minnesota and elsewhere that people sometimes encounter is finding the right person to appoint as the personal representative of one's estate and for designation as one's power of attorney. Finding the right family member or friend may be difficult because the appointment should generally be of someone younger who will more likely be available to do it when the time comes. Good estate planning should also include providing sufficient information and guidance to the representatives who will handle these matters.

For example, if a long-term care insurance policy is in effect, the appointed attorney-in-fact should know to check the payments to make sure that they are being made. This is best done early, even before any partial or full disability sets in. Many persons reportedly have their long-term care insurance policies cancelled due to failure to pay the premiums because of memory lapses.

The person appointed to the power of attorney should not wait until there is a full-blown disability before he or she becomes adept at knowing the nature of the tasks to be performed. The accountant and the agent under the power of attorney should communicate about the person's financial activities early on to create a smooth transition if a problem arises. The accountant may turn over bill paying records to the agent for early familiarity with the financial aspects of the situation.

At the center of the process in Minnesota there sits the estate planning attorney. The attorney will be a reservoir of information about the testator's affairs and preferences. The attorney will also monitor the documents and procedures for compliance with the applicable laws. Generally, the attorney is a repository of at least a set of copies of all of the pertinent documents that have been prepared and updated over the years.

Source: Forbes, "The Most Important Estate Planning Issue Boomers Need To Address", Kelly Long, May 8, 2016

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