Moving beyond a will to comprehensive planning

Many people in Minnesota may have a simple will and assume that they've adequately handled all of their estate planning needs. However, a will often does not address all of the issues with which a person's beneficiaries may be confronted, so a full-scale estate plan can be important in providing a clearer transition for the future. This is especially true when people have a private practice, like doctors, lawyers or accountants, or another type of small business. The enterprise itself can be an important asset that is more complex to deal with than regular personal property, which can make estate planning particularly important.

An estate plan is not only a collection of documents like wills and trusts. It also involves organizing assets around a comprehensive vision of what a person wants to happen after he or she passes away and why he or she wants to achieve those goals. It can also include naming the individuals who can take action to make them possible. This is why an estate plan can include a range of documents, like powers of attorney and health care proxies, that allow a trusted person to make key decisions about medical care and finances in case the individual who made the documents becomes incapacitated.

At the same time, these documents usually do not lay out the reasons for why the decisions were made, which can be important when it comes to determining and understanding intent later on. Laying out these motivations in an estate plan can help prevent court battles later on.

An estate planning lawyer can help people who are thinking about their futures develop a comprehensive plan for their assets to benefit their families and loved ones. These can include standard documents like wills and trusts in addition to letters of intent and instruction that provide a comprehensive understanding of a person's understanding of his or her estate.

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