Many people believe that the term “estate” only applies to the wealthy. However, in reality, almost everyone has an “estate.” Your estate is all of your property – your home, real estate, savings, bank accounts, life insurance policies, furniture, retirement plans, personal property and everything else you own. In other words, if you own property, you have an estate. Here are three estate planning "must haves" for every South Dakotan.
1.) An Updated Last Will & Testament
A Last Will & Testament directs how you want your property to be distributed when you die. In South Dakota, anyone who is at least eighteen years old and of sound mind can make a will. A will does not take effect until you die. Also, as long as you are of sound mind, you can change your will as often as you want.
2.) A Health Care Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document that you, as the “principal,” create by appointing another person, the health care “agent” or “attorney in fact,” to make health care decisions for you should you become incapable of making them yourself. This type of power of attorney is “durable” because it is effective even if you become incapacitated. It is important to note that your “agent” or “attorney in fact” does not need to be a licensed lawyer. In fact, you can name anyone to serve in this role.
3.) A Financial Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (Financial) is a document that you, as the “principal,” create by appointing another person, the financial “agent” or “attorney in fact,” to make financial decisions for you should you become incapable of making them yourself.