Problems with estate plans

People in Minnesota should review their estate plans to see if there are indications that it may not be as effective as they want it to be. This is particularly important if it has been some years since the estate plan has been completed and if it has not been updated.

Estate plans that lack important legal documents may be worthless. All plans should have, at the very least, a will, an advanced medical directive and a financial power of attorney. Each of these documents should be evaluated by an attorney at least every decade and after any major event that occurs in a person life, such as a marriage.

Another issue with estate plans is that the current executors and beneficiaries may not be relevant as the plan may not have been updated since it was created. The document should be periodically reviewed to add or remove beneficiaries or change how or when they receive their inheritances. The names of people who are designated as executors should also be reviewed as sometimes individuals may not be able to assume the responsibilities or have died since the estate plan was drafted.

People may not give significant thought to how their personal effects should be dealt with after their death, but provisions regarding the items should be included in their estate plans. Specifying what should happen with personal items, like family heirlooms or jewelry, can prevent loved ones from being burdened with the task and help prevent possible conflict between surviving family members.

An attorney who provides estate planning services may review existing estate plans to determine if the proper legal documents are in place to ensure that a client's wishes are honored after his or her death. A lawyer may recommend certain types of wills and trusts to help someone preserve certain assets.

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