Is Having a Will Enough to Protect Your Wishes?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Estate Planning

If you have a will, you have taken an essential step in preserving your legacy and wishes. However, having a will may not be enough.

Depending on your planning goals, you may well need more than a will to ensure you protect yourself, your family, and your estate because there are some things a will won’t do.

Provide guidance, finances for final arrangements

It may seem like a good idea to include your requests for funerals, memorial services, or final resting places in your will. However, a will is not available to loved ones until after they have made and carried out all those arrangements.

In addition to putting this information in your will, you can also put it in a separate document more accessible to loved ones. You can also utilize websites and apps to record your final wishes.

Avoid probate

Generally, wills go through the probate process in Minnesota. Depending on the details of a person’s will and estate, probate can be somewhat straightforward, or it can become incredibly complex. It also takes time and money.

Thus, having a will alone can mean your loved ones will still go through probate. However, there are several ways to avoid probate, including putting property into trusts.

Set aside assets for specific purposes

A will dictates who you want to receive your property after you pass away. However, there are limits.

For instance, if you want to set aside money for the care of your pet or you want to control when your child collects their inheritance, a trust can be a better, more effective vehicle than a will.

Express your medical and long-term care wishes

People often confuse a “last will and testament” with a “living will” or “health care directive.” However, these are different legal documents that serve different purposes.

Generally, a will addresses the distribution of property after you die; a health care directive addresses your wishes regarding your medical care while you are still living but unable to make decisions for yourself. These documents allow you to record your wishes regarding:

  • Who will make decisions on your behalf
  • Which medical treatments you receive
  • Where you receive care
  • Whether you wish to donate organs

In conclusion, because there is typically more to people’s wishes than who inherits their property, it can be crucial to take a comprehensive approach to estate planning.