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Estate planning active in daily life, needs master quarterback

Little pieces of estate planning tend to show up in our lives by the nature of society's modern service-oriented business model. Thus, in Minnesota and elsewhere, one could be asked by a doctor's office to prepare an advance medical directive. People are also regularly asked to make an estate planning decision with respect to taking title to property, who to designate as a beneficiary and whether they want to use joint tenancy designations.

Unfortunately, the piecemeal making of an estate plan is setting up a patchwork quilt in which the separate components will not generally communicate or be associated with each other. In addition, there is the important concern that these patchwork devices are likely not going to take care of all of the estate planning needs for the person or married couple. Importantly, there is no assurance that any of the separate instruments are legally authoritative. One or more of them may be totally useless, or at least vulnerable, to a broadside attack in probate court.

With all of these estate planning measures being taken throughout a mature person's work years, without questioning the employer or other entity, it seems clear that many people think they are covered by these separate items. In reality, they might be holding a document that does not clear state law requirements or otherwise includes a critical legal mistake in the way that the person is holding title. Thus, it is pretty obvious that a unified and consistent estate plan should be prepared under the aegis of one's estate planning attorney.

The best policy is to give everything to your estate planning attorney so that he or she may conform them to the basic traits of your estate plan. The attorney may also have to redo the documents to make them compatible with Minnesota and federal law. In a sense, the attorney is the quarterback of the team, and one of her or his main functions is make sure that the parts are all working together to form a rational whole.

Source: htrnews.com, "Estate planning attorneys are like a QB", Phillip Maples, Aug. 13, 2016

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Dunlap & Seeger, P.A.
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Rochester, MN 55904

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