Minnesota has various statutes outlining what happens when someone becomes incapacitated or dies. Taking the time now to create these three estate planning documents can help your family care for you and your assets through extremely tough situations offering some solace and peace of mind when it comes to your personal affairs. In some situations, a revocable (living) trust can also be a very important document, but that is a topic for discussion at another time.
Durable Power of Attorney (POA) in Minnesota
This document identifies a person as an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” and gives that person legal authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the document’s creator (the “principal”). The agent you appoint can do virtually anything of a financial nature for you if you are simply absent or if you are incapacitated. This document is only effective while the principal is living.
Health Care Directives in Minnesota
This document, which used to be called a “living will”, is a document where you can designate one or more health care agents to make medical decisions for you in circumstances where you are unable to state your own wishes regarding treatment and care in the event of various medical incapacitations. You can also designate wishes regarding organ donation and whether you prefer burial or cremation. This document must be signed in front of either a notary or two witnesses and it should contain a so-called “HIPPA” waiver so that your health care agent will not have a problem in speaking with your care providers and accessing your medical records if necessary.
Standard Wills in Minnesota
This document details specific directions about how you’d like property and assets passed on in the event of your death and to whom. A will is important because, in its absence, state law will dictate to whom your assets are passed and it might not end up as you would have wished. It is important to note that having a will does NOT help your estate avoid the lengthy and costly Minnesota probate process. There are ways of avoiding probate but having a will is not one of them. Minnesota law states that at least two people must witness your will and those two people must also sign the will within a reasonable amount of time after the witnessing.
With all of the potential life-altering situations out of our control, it makes sense to put a plan in place for your care and your assets. Waldron Law Offices, Ltd. are experts in Minnesota estate planning and are here to help you. Call (952) 471-0940 to learn more.