Estate Planning – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
At Burns & Hansen, P.A., we provide a spectrum of legal services to clients from throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. Many people do not consider drafting a will or trust until later in life. But developing an estate plan is an important step for anyone, regardless of their age. Often, our lawyers will hear the following questions related to estate plans:
When should I update my will?
Many things happen throughout our lives that will make us second-guess our estate plan. Whether you update your will depends on your current wishes for your assets. Relationships change over time, for instance, and you may no longer trust a person who is on your will. You may also want to change your will after a major life event like a death or a divorce.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process that occurs after a person’s death. The will of the deceased must be proven, and the estate settled before inheritances may be distributed to heirs; this occurs through probate.
Why should I have a power of attorney?
A power of attorney will give you a say in who controls your assets in the event of your death or incapacitation. Because these events are often unpredictable, having a power of attorney may give you peace of mind regarding the future. Essentially, a power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person authorization to control your financial matters.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
Perhaps the biggest difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect after a person dies. But a trust may have a trustee appointed to certain assets or property once the trust has been made official. There are different types of trusts, and how you and your attorney draft your trust will differ case by case. Trusts may also help heirs avoid the probate process.
How can a lawyer help me with my estate plan?
An experienced lawyer understands the process for all elements of your estate plan. He or she can walk you through your options, give you the pros and cons of each approach and help you decide what is best for your assets and your loved ones going forward.