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Minnesota residents: have you updated your wills?

Marriage can be one of the biggest changes in a person's life. When a person is married, it not only changes his or her everyday personal life, but it affects long-term goals, as well, including his or her financial outlook.

The law also views married couples differently than a single individual, as several changes occur simply due to the marriage status itself. For instance, the distribution of property under intestate succession laws changes when a person is married, as the law provides a person's surviving spouse with a share in the deceased person's estate, in the case in which the deceased person has not left a will.

For those who already have wills, getting married can be a significant change that warrants a change in any existing will. This is not only because of the laws that provide surviving spouses with property, but also because the addition of the spouse to a will may change the distribution of property for the person's other heirs.

For instance, in Minnesota, where same-sex marriage was legalized last year, there are many new married couples who now have different tax and estate planning considerations than before. These couples, as well as anyone who was married since last doing his or her will, are encouraged to review their estate plans and update their estate planning documents.

Of course, marriage is just one of many reasons that should prompt a person to update an estate plan. Having a new baby, divorcing or moving from a different state are some of the other reasons that make it smart to review an existing estate plan. These changes in a person's life can change their heirs or the treatment of their property under the law, and therefore it is essential that the person update all estate planning documents to ensure that his or her wishes are still met.

Source: CBS Minnesota, "Minn. same-sex married couples ponder tax-filing method," Bill Hudson, Mar. 4, 2014

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