There’s an old saying “KISS” that stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid.” While that last word is a bit harsh, there are things that should remain as straightforward as possible. For example, someone with modest financial worth and uncomplicated family needs an estate plan. However, they may just need a simple estate plan.
The Will: A Good Start to a Simple Estate Plan
Many consider the Last Will and Testament to be the foundation of an estate plan. Making a Will gives testators the opportunity to:
- State how their property should be distributed after death;
- Name someone to act as executor or personal representative of the estate;
- Make bequests, or gifts, to loved ones;
- Disinherit family members;
- Name a guardian for minor children, if any; and
- Establish testamentary trusts.
However, even a simple estate plan usually consists of more than a Will.
Durable Power of Attorney
Testators often prepare other documents, like a durable power of attorney, when making their Will. The person making the power of attorney is called the principal. A power of attorney allows the principal to name someone to act on their behalf. A durable power of attorney allows the authority to continue if the principal becomes incapacitated.
The authority granted to the agent can be broad or limited and may begin immediately or at a later time. However, a durable power of attorney does not grant the agent the authority to handle medical or end-of-life decisions.
Health Care Directives Have a Place in a Simple Estate Plan
Also called advanced directives, a health care directive is a written document that states your health care preferences. Like a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney or health care power of attorney grants an agent the power to discuss care with medical providers.
Revocable Living Trusts
As a very commonly used estate planning tool, the revocable living trust may deserve a place in your simple estate plan. Establishing a trust should at least be on the list of concerns you discuss with your estate planning attorney.
If you want to transfer assets quickly and confidentially to your heirs, this may be the route to take.
Find Out if You Need a Simple Estate Plan
For some, a simple estate plan works. Other people may need more advanced estate planning, possibly because of financial holdings or family circumstances. The best way to find out what kind of estate planning you need is to talk to an estate planning lawyer.
At Virtus Law, we have the experience and skills to analyze your current estate plan and make any necessary changes. Contact us by calling 612.888.1000 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, with other offices located in Maplewood, Cambridge, Edina, and Mendota Heights.