Do you really need a will?

It would be easy to say that everyone needs a will, that everyone should hire me to prepare an estate plan, but that just is not true.  However, there are a few triggering events that can make a will, and an overall estate plan a beneficial and wise investment for you and your family:

1.  Having children

Having a child is probably the number one reason people first look to develop an estate plan.  A will can allow you to direct who will care for your children in case you and the other parent pass away.  A will can also provide structure for how finances will be handled, to offer long-term security for your children.

2.  Getting married

Getting married is a major triggering event that should drive people to evaluate their estate plan needs with an experienced attorney.  It is important that you understand how Minnesota marital property laws may effect the distribution of your estate in case of your death. 

3.  Getting divorced

Divorce, from a legal aspect, presents probably the most important life event that necessitates the need for an expert estate plan.  This need becomes even more imperative in a subsequent marriage involving children.  In this situation, without an estate plan, your assets may not end up with the people you care for the most.    

4.  Accumulating assets

When your net probate estate is less than $50,000, there are mechanisms in Minnesota that allow your heirs to collect assets without Court proceedings.  However, when your total probate estate exceeds the $50,000 mark, a probate proceeding may be required to collect and distribute assets to the entitled individuals.  A will and overall estate plan, can work to circumvent the need for heirs to deal with the hassles of a Court proceeding. 

Although these events are the most common, there are numerous other reasons that make an estate plan a wise and valuable tool.