People in North Dakota who are creating an estate plan may want to consider several different types of documents. Most people need a last will and testament, which can appoint an executor for the estate and guardians for any minor children. A will can also be used to pass assets.
However, some people prefer to use a trust. With a trust, assets pass directly to beneficiaries without having to go through probate. Trusts may be used in other ways as well. For example, a person might want to set up a spendthrift trust for beneficiaries who may be irresponsible with their money. This type of trust can allow the trustee to decide when the beneficiary gets distributions. People may also want to consider having a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. These appoint individuals to manage a person’s finances and health care in case of becoming incapacitated.
Some people might want to consider purchasing a life insurance policy. Along with retirement accounts and some other types of assets, life insurance passes by beneficiary designations. These need to be reviewed regularly and after any major life changes along with the rest of the estate plan. People may also want to have a document that addresses what should be done with any digital assets, such as email accounts.
An attorney may help clients determine what approach is best on their current situation. A person who is just out of college and who has few possessions and no dependents will need a very different type of estate plan compared to someone who owns a business and is in a second marriage with children from both marriages. People may need a plan to protect assets from creditors, donate to charity or take care of a relative with special needs.