The importance of estate planning

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:02 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Death is a five-letter word most of us would like to avoid, however, it is something we all must face eventually and also prepare for.

At his law firm in Bismarck, estate lawyer Chad Anderson is busy helping clients with their final wills and healthcare directives. A will acts as a note of clarity.

“It directs who you want to have as your personal representative or executor, and then who you want to have as your beneficiaries and how you want your estate distributed,” said Chad Anderson, Attorney at Law, Chad Anderson Law Firm.

Financial advisors are another source to go to for estate planning. They can guide you on how to protect your assets from certain taxes and also how to transfer assets out of the estate.

“That can mean transferring it into an irrevocable trust, it can also mean doing gifting. Each individual is eligible to give up to that $13 million mark,” said Steven Richard, financial professional at Securian Financial Advisors of North Dakota.

Estate lawyers say all wills go through a probate process, which is a court proceeding in which the will that is left behind is validated and accepted as the true last testament of the deceased. If you don’t have a will, your estate will be subject to the intestate laws of North Dakota.

“The state designates who is going to be your beneficiary, who will act as the executor or personal representative,” said Anderson.

It is recommended that your will and estate be updated every three to five years, or when major changes occur.

“As life changes, as this market changes, the economy changes, as tax law changes, we want to be revisiting those estate plans,” said Richard.

You do not have to be a senior citizen to start thinking about estate planning — this is for everyone.

“It’s good to have an estate plan at any age. Starting young is good, especially for young couples,” said Anderson.

The whole point is just to have this in place and ready to go if the worst should occur.