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Parts of estate plan to review

Minnesota residents should take time to review their estate plans as there are many things that can render all or parts of them ineffective. If the documents have not been reviewed since they were created or it has been some years since they were assessed by an attorney, it is highly likely that they have to be updated.

A typical estate plan should include financial and health care powers of attorney, an advanced medical directive and a will. All of the documents should not go without being reviewed by an attorney at least every few years. It is also wise to have the attorney look the documents to see if they require modifications after a significant life event has occurred, like a marriage, a divorce or the birth of a child.

Because of the many changes that can occur over the years, it is important to update all beneficiary information and executor appointments if they have not been reviewed since the estate plan was created. It may be necessary to add or remove beneficiaries. New executors many have to be named if the individuals currently listed have died or are unable to assume the responsibilities.

Documents should also be double-checked to ensure that there are provisions for how personal effects should be handled. Deciding who should receive family heirlooms and jewelry, for example, can be a burden for surviving loved ones and can result in strife among family members if detailed instructions haven't been provided in the estate plan. An attorney can also prepare a trust if appropriate for a client's particular situation.

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