Does a landlord need an estate plan? The short answer is that having an estate plan is important for everybody, and especially important for a landlord. In addition to personal property, a landlord will have real property and business interests. In other words, the landlord both owns real property and has an interest in business – the business of collecting rents and managing rental properties. For these reasons, it is appropriate for a landlord to have an estate plan and a business succession plan as well.

For most people, including landlords, an estate plan involves three documents:

(1.) a Will, which controls the disposition of your property after your death.

(2.) A Health Care Directive, which names someone – usually a close relative, such as a spouse, or a friend – as your health care agent, a person who is authorized to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make the decisions your self. For example, if you are in a coma and otherwise unconscious, the doctors can talk to your health care agent to make medical decisions related to your care.

(3.) A Power of Attorney, which lets the person who you appoint as power of attorney to make financial decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. For example, if you are in a coma and otherwise unconscious, your power of attorney can make financial decisions (related to bank accounts, real estate, investments, etc.) for you.

In addition to a will, a health care directive, and a power of attorney, a landlord (or any small business owner, really) should have a business succession plan as well. Although a business succession plan is beyond the scope of this blog post (watch for a more detailed post on succession planning in a few weeks), the reasons for having an estate or business succession plan are the same.

First, having an estate or business succession plan puts you in control. For an estate plan, you get to control what happens to your property after you pass away. For a business succession plan, you get to control the process by which you will gradually take a backseat in the business and turn the day-to-day operations of the business over to others.

Second, I bet that you will feel a profound sense of satisfaction, relief, and accomplishment once your estate plan and business succession plan is created. Your loved ones will appreciate that you took the time and energy to plan for your death in advance.

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.