You do not need a written estate plan for your family. 

I imagine you find that statement a little shocking coming from a will, trust, and estate planning attorney.

However, it's true...with one caveat. 

You don't need a written estate plan as long as you like the state of Minnesota's plan for you and your family. In my experience working with hundreds of Minnesota families over the years, I have never met anyone who likes the state's plan for their family once they understand it.

For example, in the absence of a written plan, a judge will determine who the guardians of your kids will be.  

A judge will also decide who manages the money you leave for your kids, how that money is managed, and your kids are likely to receive the balance outright and unprotected at the age of 18.

I don't know about you, but I don't know too many 18 year olds who are mature enough to manage a significant amount of money that drops in their lap all at once. 

In addition, if your kids ever got divorced, get sued, become disabled, developed a substance abuse issue, or simply had poor money management skills, everything you've worked for and left for them could be lost.

Also, the court process for naming guardians of your kids and setting up who will manage the money could take 12-16 months or more, could cost your family 3% or more of the total value of your life's savings, and the proceedings are completely public.

In my experience, most families deem this a failed plan. 

But it doesn't have to be this way. By taking steps ahead of time, you can protect your kids and your family by putting your own plan in place for them instead of relying on the state's plan for you and your family. 

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker