In Minnesota and elsewhere, many people don’t get around to making an estate plan due to their reluctance, or outright fear, in facing the subject of death. When people are in good health and functioning vigorously, many will not allow inconvenient thoughts of death or dying to occupy the mind. The idea of taking the time to engage in estate planning to prepare for the post-death distribution of assets is an equally preposterous concept for many people. In fact, more than half of the population generally does not have an estate plan.
This includes not even having a will. It must be accentuated again that when a person doesn’t have a will, he or she really does have a will it’s the one that the state has drawn up. The intestate (having no will) laws in every state will provide a designation of how the decedent’s assets are to be distributed. Generally, most people do not want the state making their distributions for them.
The answer, then, gets back to square one. It is best to take the time to prepare an estate plan. The best way to do this is to obtain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney. Makeshift attempts to construct “home remedies” may end in disaster. For example, where a bank account is put in two names jointly, a lawsuit and judgment against one of the persons can end up wiping out the funds.
Online forms are also a failed method of constructing a meaningful and effective estate plan. Without professional input, most makeshift plans using online forms are often incomplete, filled out wrong or otherwise defective in several respects. The importance of planning properly for the potential of incompetency is an important consideration, along with many other factors that are relevant to each particular person’s circumstances. In Minnesota, estate planning involves a complex menu of choices and decisions that should be formulated carefully and with full knowledge of the consequences.
Source: thetimesherald.com, “Why haven’t you done your estate plan?“, Matthew Wallace, July 10, 2016