Answering Questions On Matters Critical To Your Future
Your estate plan protects both you and your loved ones by thoughtfully planning for the unknown. While such matters are of critical importance, many have questions on everything from the basics of estate planning to complex concerns over end-of-life matters.
At Dittrich Law Firm, P.A., we assist individuals and families across the Twin Cities area in Minnesota with their estate planning and elder law concerns. While we can answer questions unique to your goals, read on for some of our most frequently asked questions:
What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust?
A will is the foundation of an estate plan. It expresses your wishes and the distribution of your property and assets. Used in addition to a will, trusts generally offer more control over your property and assets, allowing you to attach different conditions to meet your needs.
One of the main differences between the two is that the wishes expressed in a will are typically subject to pass through probate court after death. By contrast, property held in a trust can avoid probate. The trustee, who is appointed by the creator of the trust, instead distributes the trust’s funds.
When Do I Need To Update My Estate Plan?
Generally, you should review your estate plan every few years. A review is especially necessary following a major life event, including a birth, death, marriage and divorce. Habitually reviewing and updating your plan can ensure that nothing is either overlooked or forgotten.
How Can My Estate Plan Prepare For My Future Needs?
You can choose to include certain measures in your estate plan that guard against future uncertainty. For example, a durable power of attorney allows you to designate an individual to assume control of your financial and legal affairs, either temporarily or upon an event. A living will expresses your health care wishes for complex or critical medical decisions.
Both avoid the burden of a family member making a difficult decision on your behalf without direction. If such measures are not put in place, there are other options for family members to make important decisions on your behalf, including guardianship or conservatorship.
When Is Probate Necessary?
Unless you take certain preventative measures, your estate will likely pass through probate court upon death. Such measures can include setting up a trust, transfer-on-death deeds, property owned jointly and more. We can discuss your options with you, particularly if avoiding probate is important to you.