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Sometimes redundancy is better than gaps in estate planning

If there is anything that is sure in life, it is that one day we will all pass away. Some people in Minnesota may have already given this life certainty thought and have executed a will. However, this is not the only estate planning document that should be in their arsenal. Here are some other documents that could prove helpful to ensuring one's end-of-life wishes are met.

First, there is a living will. This instrument states what types of medical treatment a person would want in certain situations. Not to be confused with that is a power of attorney for health care, which allows another person to make health care decisions for that person should that person become incapacitated.

Also, there is a "Physician orders for life sustaining treatment." These instruments are newcomers to the estate planning world. It is a document that the person and their physician execute together, and the physician signs it. Once this happens, it is part of the person's medical records and must be followed when necessary. "Do not resuscitate" and "do not intubate" orders may also be a part of a POLST.

People might also want to execute a durable power of attorney. This ensures that someone is appointed to pay the bills and take care of one's finances should a person be unable to do so themselves. Also, a personal property memorandum can augment a will or trust, as it will contain a comprehensive rundown of who is to inherit what property after a person passes. Digital assets memorandums may also be a good addition to an estate plan.

In the end, while some of these documents may, on their face, seem redundant, redundancy is better than gaps in an estate plan. An estate planning attorney may be able to explain what these documents do and how they differ, so a person can make informed choices when developing an estate plan.

Source: CNBC, "Got a will? Here are 11 more end-of-life documents you may need," Kelli B. Grant, Nov. 15, 2017

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