A last will and testament is a legal document you can use to leave your property to people or organizations. You can also name a personal guardian to care for your minor children and appoint a person to manage the property you leave for your kids. Without a will, the court will distribute your estate according to Minnesota’s intestacy laws and choose a guardian for your kids, which may not be aligned with your last wishes.
A will does not avoid probate
The only assets subject to intestate succession laws are those that must pass through probate. However, even if you have a will, these assets must still go through probate. Probate is court supervised. It is the process of verifying the legitimacy of a will and distributing the decedent’s estate according to their will. The executor of your estate is the personal representative you name in your will. They have the task of overseeing the probate process and fulfilling all the necessary legal and financial requirements.
Why you may want to consider avoiding probate
Probate can take time, especially if the estate in question is particularly complex. Interested parties may also attempt to contest your will or accuse your executor of breaching their fiduciary duty to get a larger portion of your estate. A detailed and properly structured estate plan can help ensure your final wishes are honored despite probate. You can also incorporate specific legal arrangements into your estate plan that can allow you to avoid burdening your loved ones with probate by transferring assets directly to them upon your death.
An estate plan is so much more than a simple will. If done effectively and correctly, your estate plan can preserve your assets and allow you to distribute them exactly how and when you desire.