The state of South Dakota has established specific laws addressing estate planning and financial control when residents pass away. The rules and regulations are general in nature and allow all South Dakota residents an opportunity supported by a documented directive to ensure their wishes will be enforced when they die. Estate plans can range from a simple will for those with relatively minimal assets to detailed legal instruments such as trusts that can be used to protect wealth for the family or designated individuals when the primary asset holder passes on.
Estate plans typically include certain standard financial protections that will keep assets from vulnerability to creditors and taxation that could happen to funds exposed during a probate process. A good estate plan will actually avoid probate altogether in many cases by utilizing:
- Dependent children custody preferences
- Physical property inheritance
- Assignment of retirement benefits when this applies
- Medical directives before passing
- Funeral arrangements
Regardless of the components of any estate planning, there are certain elements of well-designed plans that will require the assistance of a South Dakota attorney who is focused on estate planning in their practice. It is also vital that all estate documentation be notarized appropriately for validity purposes and held on file. Estate plans that are not properly established can be contested in court by any potential inheritor, and certain aspects such as frame of mind at the time of making the will or setting up a trust is often central to the arguments. Having all paperwork compiled by an experienced South Dakota estate planning attorney is essential for your wishes to be honored after death.
While it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney when making an estate plan, the most important characteristic when choosing legal counsel for an estate plan is trustworthiness. South Dakota residents who are setting up an estate plan are disclosing very personal financial information, and having the right estate planning attorney in South Dakota is imperative for all people with considerable assets to protect and distribute.