An out-of-state attorney wrote a column about how estate planning should concern living rather than dying. Considering the fact that retired individuals are now attending college and looking for new areas in the world to explore, the idea that estate planning is only about preserving assets that can then be passed on to one’s heirs is an outdated notion.
There are tools that can be used to help benefit both our current financial needs while still managing to tuck away a certain amount that can be passed onto our heirs. There are means of setting aside small amounts of money that can be used later on by us or our children. We can place land and property that we currently use into trusts to ensure that property remains in the family.
Unfortunately, we do not always take advantage of these planning tools and sometimes we do not prepare for unexpected circumstances. For example, less than half of individuals over the age of 65 have put in place a durable power of attorney allowing others to make financial decisions for them and less than 60 percent have a health care power of attorney.
There is a myth that estate planning concerns only those that are well-off. However, planning is important regardless of how much we own. Those with fewer assets may actually have a greater need for estate planning assistance. This is in part because these individuals are less likely able to afford a financial hit.
Every state including Minnesota has slightly different rules when it comes to trust administration or other options to hold onto assets for future generations. It’s therefore a good idea to speak to an attorney licensed in the state in which you reside to find out what the best options happen to be.
Source: Missoulian, “Estate planning should be about living, not dying,” Steve Darty, March 18, 2014