At today’s Wills & Revocable Trusts free seminar we discussed many different topics. One topic we delved into was using a Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney compared with a Common Law Power of Attorney. In a Common Law Power of Attorney, you may make it a “springing” power, such that it will not be in force unless you are declared by a physician to be mentally incompetent.
We also discussed Health Care Directives in detail and what additional instructions you may add to them, such as funeral information, placement of ashes, and very specific medical procedures you identify as what you want, do not want, are undecided about, or want a trial and if no clear progress is made that treatment is stopped.
Also today we discussed why owning real estate in more than one state is an indicator that a Revocable Trust is a good tool for you – if you transfer all the real estate into your Revocable Trust, you can avoid multiple probates. This scenario comes up a lot with Minnesota folks owning cabins in Wisconsin and condos in Florida. You can do planning that makes everything so much easier for your family when you’re gone, that many people are not aware of.
Prince was also a topic of conversation with the news that he died without at least a Will. Most celebrities have a Revocable Trust in order to maintain their privacy as to their assets and the disposition of them. This was a missed opportunity for him. And, his property will now be given to his heirs-at-law under the Minnesota Intestacy laws, instead of to the people and charities he likely would have chosen. The lack of an Estate Plan at his death also means potential for claims and litigation among the various heirs. We can all learn a lesson from this: do not put off your planning. Get something in place and you can make changes to your Plan via a Codicil to your Will or an Amendment to your Revocable Trust as they are needed.