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What is the importance of having a will?

Having an estate plan is an important part of growing older. It helps you make sure the people you care about are not left fighting legal battles for assets and that you can designate who should receive what out of your hard-earned assets. An estate plan discusses what happens to you after your death, including all your final wishes. It may include trusts and even information on what happens to your pet.

Everyone should have a will, even though not everyone does. It is a tool that allows you to control the division of your estate. By creating a will, your loved ones are protected; without one, Minnesota's inheritance laws dictate how your estate will be split up. If you have a spouse and children, they will first receive your assets. If not, then your assets are divided by first going to grandchildren, then parents, brothers and sisters and lastly relatives. If you wanted to leave anything to friends, a girlfriend or a spouse you are not married to, you would have needed to have accounted for those individuals in a will.

To make a will, you'll need to be at least 18 years old. Wills need to be in writing and should be signed by you. Two witnesses should also sign the will. It's a good idea to have your attorney witness the signing with your conservator.

Your will can include many different things from the establishment of trusts to the names of guardians who will care for your children in the event of your untimely death. Your attorney can help walk you through the writing of a will if you aren't sure what you want to include.

Source: The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, "Probate and Planning," accessed Feb. 07, 2017

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Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates

Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates LLC
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