Archive for Gifts

Must I Have a Will?

Skipping the writing of a Will may harmfully disrupt family dynamics, may result in distributions that you didn’t want or intend, and may increase the costs of settling your estate.

A Will, properly executed under Minnesota law, is your legal instruction to your survivors as to how you want your estate divvied up after you die.

If you don’t have a Will, Minnesota law has a plan for you, which you may not like. » Read more..

Must I Give My Kids an Inheritance?

Will your kids think less of you if they don’t inherit anything from you at your death? Will you feel guilty if you don’t – or can’t — provide them with an inheritance?

Inheritance of any size is a windfall for the children who receive it given that they most likely didn’t do anything to earn it.

Some wealthy parents don’t want their children to inherit more than a fraction of their estate out of concern that their children may not use it wisely or may develop bad habits.

Other parents may be concerned that health care costs, and the living expenses associated with living longer than past generations, may make it unlikely that the parents will have any money left to give to their children. » Read more..

Joint Account with Child May Backfire

Studio portrait of a senior couple jokingly choking each other while looking at the camera.

Designating one of your children as the joint holder of your bank account may create problems.

It is typically better to use a Minnesota Durable Power of Attorney document to enable the child to write checks and to take other actions on your behalf during your senior years instead of creating the jointly held account.

Why? A jointly held account may place your carefully crafted estate plan in jeopardy. » Read more..

Loan or Gift?

Cash pileNasty family fights may erupt after your death if it’s not clear whether the money that you transferred to one of your children during your lifetime was a gift or a loan.

If it was a loan, the child borrower must repay the money to your estate. If it was a gift, no money is owed to your estate. » Read more..

Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries

Headline of Life Insurance for background

Chances are that you no longer remember whom you’ve named as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. You should find out. Why? The beneficiaries that you listed with your life insurance company trump any beneficiary designations that you may have made via your Minnesota Will.

It’s also important that your loved ones know that you have a life insurance policy and where to find it.  Otherwise, the life insurance money may go unclaimed! » Read more..

Estate Planning: Gifts & Gift Taxes

Cash pileJust as gifts come in all shapes and sizes, so do the tax rules and regulations regarding the gifts of your assets that you make during your lifetime or at death. Generally speaking, the donor of the gift is responsible for paying any gift taxes owed.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) first states that any gift is a taxable gift, but then applies exceptions to that general rule. » Read more..

Great Estate Plans Include a Legacy Letter

Perhaps no estate plan is truly complete without a Legacy Letter.

A Legacy Letter may pass along family stories and life lessons, and teach something about the meaning of your life that can be helpful to, and appreciated by, future generations. A Legacy Letter may also be used to share your values, traditions, beliefs, faith, wisdom, love and forgiveness. » Read more..

The Impact of Owning Minnesota Real Estate as “Joint Tenants” v. “Tenants in Common”

Perhaps you’ve never given much thought to the words on the deed to your Minnesota real estate, but whether you own it as joint tenants or tenants in common can make a big difference as to what you own. The difference also impacts how, when and to whom the real estate is transferred.

Joint tenants own an undivided interest in the property whereas tenants in common own a specific percentage. Why does the difference matter? » Read more..

Should You Use a Trust or LLC to Keep the Cabin in the Family?

Two of the most popular approaches to keeping the revered family cabin in the family are to either place the cabin in a revocable trust or set up a limited liability company (LLC) to own the cabin.

Both approaches have pros and cons. Which technique will work best for you depends on your goals, circumstances and chief concerns.

With either the revocable trust or LLC, your children won’t own the cabin directly. That feature has some practical advantages. » Read more..

7 Steps to Help Prevent Arguments After You Die

How can you increase the odds that your children won’t fight over the family assets?

Children don’t always fight after their parents’ deaths. However, lawyers handling probate (estate administration) matters see fights more often than you might think.

Here are 7 steps that you can take to help prevent arguments after you die. » Read more..