Creating a will is a useful first step to creating an estate plan. However, if Minnesota residents stop their estate planning process there, they may miss out on some useful tools that could help them address more aspects of their lives and estates than just their property. Plus, if individuals took a set-it-and-forget-it approach to their wills, it is possible the information is outdated.
Certainly, a will can have benefits that other estate planning tools cannot. For example, parents can use a will to name a guardian for their minor children. However, once those children reach adulthood, that designation is no longer necessary. If a will still contains guardianship information even after the children are grown, it is likely that other information is outdated as well.
Additionally, if a person has only a will, it is likely that he or she did not plan for incapacitation. Some people may think that they are in good health and that they will not need long-term care or lose their ability to make sound decisions. However, this could happen to anyone, and if it is not planned for, the court could appoint someone to handle important personal affairs for the individual when he or she could have appointed someone with the right planning tools.
Estate planning does not have to be complex, but the more comprehensive a plan, the better. Going over the available planning tools from wills to trusts to powers of attorney could help Minnesota residents understand the importance of leaving instructions for various parts of their estates and lives. Interested individuals may want to go over their options with experienced attorneys.