Welcome back for Part 2 of the most frequently asked questions I experience as an estate planning attorney. If you are new to the blog, be sure to check out Part 1 of the Estate FAQ. If you have any questions after reading these, please give our Estate Planning Team a call.
1. If I Own Real Estate In Multiple States, Will I Have Multiple Probates?
Yes. A good example of this is a client who is a North Dakota resident but owns a lake cabin in Minnesota. If you fit into this category, then your family could be forced to go through one probate in North Dakota and one probate in Minnesota. This extra time, effort, stress, and cost on your family can be avoided with proper planning. One such planning tool for the lake cabin example above is a transfer on a death deed (ToDD). A ToDD allows you to transfer your real estate to your loved ones upon your death and the transfer is about as automatic as is possible. This means there would be no court intervention, no statutory time periods, and lower costs.
2. Why Can’t I Just Print Out An Estate Plan Online?
Estate planning lawyers field this question regularly. Frankly, it is a fair question. We all work hard for our money, and none of us want to overpay for services. The problem with creating an estate plan yourself based off a form you found/purchased online is that you are viewing a finished estate plan as a standard good. The nice thing about standard goods (laundry detergent, shampoo, etc.) is that the same brand shampoo, for example, is going to be the same quality no matter where you buy it, so it makes sense to purchase from the place with the cheapest price.
Unlike shampoo, however, estate planning is a service. The idea behind estate planning is you have the opportunity for an estate planning attorney to advise you on what type of estate plan best fits your needs (will, trust, ToDD, etc.). In addition, the estate planning attorney will be able to advise you on the varying terms, rules, and instructions that your estate plan should, should not, or must contain based on your specific situation. When it comes to having your last wishes and requests followed, it pays to have professional help.
3. I Am Young And Don’t Need To Worry About Estate Planning Yet, Right?
No. Whether you are young or old, you owe it to yourself and your family to have your estate plan in order. The unfortunate truth is none of us know when we are going to have an accident, become ill, or die. While statistically speaking, an older man will die sooner than a younger man (everything else being equal), young adults also die unexpectedly. By simply discussing your situation and options with an estate planning attorney, you can have a better idea of what goes into the estate planning process as well as starting to have peace of mind that your family will be provided for and your last wishes will be heard and followed.
If you want to avoid probate, need to create or update an estate plan, or want to know more about the probate or guardianship process, contact an experienced attorney. Call our Estate Planning Team at 701-297-2890 or email us below.
The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to your particular set of facts.