The focus of estate planning is often on what will happen after someone dies. Wills and trusts can help ensure that property goes to the right people after someone’s death. However, estate planning in Minnesota is not just about death. It can also address incapacity and asset protection later in life.
Additionally, people can plan for their own protection in the event of an emergency, like a car crash that leaves them on life support. Far too many people bypass the creation of living documents and then do not have protection should something unusual occur. Understanding what kinds of documents people can add to Minnesota estate plans may help people more effectively plan for their own comfort and protection.
Health care directives are powerful tools
In other states, testators create living wills or advance directives talking about their medical wishes. They may also draft powers of attorney to give someone the authority to manage their medical choices. These documents designate someone that they trust to manage medical matters and clarify their care preferences if they cannot speak on their own behalf.
Testators in Minnesota can draft health care directives that are similar to a combination of an advance medical directive and a medical power of attorney. One document can effectively explore someone’s wishes regarding their treatment and name someone they trust to handle their care when they cannot communicate on their own behalf due to incapacity or unconsciousness.
Some testators will also want to draft financial powers of attorney empowering a person that they trust to pay their bills, run their businesses and manage their resources. With the right tools, it is possible for people to have someone that they trust to take care of their personal matters and health care decisions after an emergency or in a scenario where the courts determine that they have lost testamentary capacity.
Adding living documents to a Minnesota estate plan can help to ensure that someone has proper protection regardless of what unanticipated events occur in their life. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.