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I am often asked whether a person needs to have a Will or estate plan. The answer is yes, probably. If you are single, have never been married, are not in a relationship, do not have children (either biological or adopted), do not have life insurance or another form of insurance that pays a cash benefit upon your death, rent as opposed to own your home, do not own any significant personal property (such as a motor vehicle), and are okay with the state determining what happens to your property after you die, then you might be okay not having an estate plan. In other words, and estate plan is right for most persons, and most people need an estate plan.

I think that everybody should have an estate plan consisting of a Will, a health care directive, and a power of attorney. The Will controls what happens to your property after your death; the health care directive appoints someone who you know and trust to be your healthcare agent in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions related to your medical care and treatment by yourself; and the power of attorney appoint someone you know and trust to make decisions and carry on your financial affairs in the event that you are unable to do so on your own.

There are two primary reasons why you should have an estate plan. First, you want the control that comes from having a written plan detailing how you want your property distributed at the time of your death. I believe that you will feel an immense feeling of satisfaction and relief once you have a written plan in place that says what you want to have happen to your personal property when you die. I also think that you will feel a profound sense of relief when you have a health care directive and power of attorney that gives somebody you trust the authority to make medical and financial decisions, respectively, on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

The purpose of having an estate plan is not necessarily to benefit you, but to make life easier for those who survive you. Instead of having your loved ones sit around the hospital or funeral home wondering how you would like this situation – probably, your last illness or death – handled, what you would have done, and what you would like to have done, you can spell out exactly what you want to have happen in your estate plan and provide guidance and instruction for your survivors. Providing that guidance and instruction to your survivors is the real purpose and value of having an estate plan.

I've written about this before, but I think that the death of the pop icon Prince illustrates why you should have an estate plan. Prince died intestate, without a Will. If Prince had had a Will, there would not now be so much legal wrangling, maneuvering, and fighting over his estate. I don't think that Prince would have wanted that, and doubt that you wanted as well. All of that trouble could have easily been avoided if Prince had had a Will. To see the prior article, please visit:

http://www.balandlaw.com/3/post/2016/06/the-probate-mess-stemming-from-princes-death-is-why-you-need-an-estate-plan.html

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 
 
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Does a landlord need an estate plan? The short answer is that having an estate plan is important for everybody, and especially important for a landlord. In addition to personal property, a landlord will have real property and business interests. In other words, the landlord both owns real property and has an interest in business – the business of collecting rents and managing rental properties. For these reasons, it is appropriate for a landlord to have an estate plan and a business succession plan as well.

For most people, including landlords, an estate plan involves three documents:

(1.) a Will, which controls the disposition of your property after your death.

(2.) A Health Care Directive, which names someone – usually a close relative, such as a spouse, or a friend – as your health care agent, a person who is authorized to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make the decisions your self. For example, if you are in a coma and otherwise unconscious, the doctors can talk to your health care agent to make medical decisions related to your care.

(3.) A Power of Attorney, which lets the person who you appoint as power of attorney to make financial decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. For example, if you are in a coma and otherwise unconscious, your power of attorney can make financial decisions (related to bank accounts, real estate, investments, etc.) for you.

In addition to a will, a health care directive, and a power of attorney, a landlord (or any small business owner, really) should have a business succession plan as well. Although a business succession plan is beyond the scope of this blog post (watch for a more detailed post on succession planning in a few weeks), the reasons for having an estate or business succession plan are the same.

First, having an estate or business succession plan puts you in control. For an estate plan, you get to control what happens to your property after you pass away. For a business succession plan, you get to control the process by which you will gradually take a backseat in the business and turn the day-to-day operations of the business over to others.

Second, I bet that you will feel a profound sense of satisfaction, relief, and accomplishment once your estate plan and business succession plan is created. Your loved ones will appreciate that you took the time and energy to plan for your death in advance.

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.