Minnesotans in a 2nd marriage that fail to sign a Will before death may fall victim to unintended consequences.
Minnesota law applies when there is no Will, and those laws may not be what the parties to the 2nd marriage expected.
For example, spouses often expect to inherit all of their deceased spouse’s assets even when spouses are in a 2nd marriage. That expectation is wrong if the deceased has children from a 1st marriage and the deceased did not create a Will giving everything to the surviving spouse. When there is no Will, but there are children from the deceased’s 1st marriage, Minnesota law states that the surviving spouse is to receive “the first $225,000” plus ½ of the rest. The other assets go to the deceased’s descendants. » Read more..
Second marriages – particularly when each spouse has kids from a prior marriage – are fraught with complications that heighten the need for careful estate planning.
When there’s been only one marriage, and when all of the children are the children of both parents, a typical scenario in Minnesota is as follows: The parent who dies first transfers all of his or her assets to the surviving parent. When the surviving parent also dies, their children share any assets that remain.
However, parents in 2nd marriages have worries regarding the transfer of their wealth that differ from 1st marriage situations. » Read more..
If you want your step-children to inherit, you need to specify that wish in your Minnesota Will or Revocable Living Trust.
If you don’t do so, then only your blood relatives or adopted children will inherit.
Without a Will (and assuming that you have no surviving spouse), your children inherit in equal shares under Minnesota law. No provision is provided for step-children. » Read more..
Let’s admit it: We care about how we are remembered after death, and also about what happens to our lifetime accumulation of financial and other assets.
Thus, it’s foolhardy to think that we can keep putting off estate planning on the premise that death is still a long ways away, or that everything will somehow work out (miraculously) according to our wishes if we do nothing. » Read more..
The sentiment – “I don’t care what happens after I die because, after all, I’ll be gone.” – typically doesn’t work well in reality.
Creating a well-thought-out estate plan is really your last gift to your family. Without such a plan, your relatives may be cursing you for the unnecessary mess that you left behind rather than having sufficient time to grieve your death and navigate ways to cope without you. » Read more..
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You can disinherit your children in Minnesota via your Will or Trust, but disinheriting your spouse can’t occur without your spouse’s consent.
Even if you specifically state in your Will or Trust that your spouse is disinherited, your spouse may claim as much as half of your estate if the two of you were married at least 15 years. The spouse is entitled to lesser percentages if the spouses were married to each other for fewer years. » Read more..
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Pre-nuptial agreements are most commonly used, and probably make the most sense, when the persons contemplating marriage have children from a previous marriage and desire to protect the children’s inheritance. Pre-nups may also have merit when the net worth of the two parties are vastly different, or when one party has business interests that need protecting so that a later divorce doesn’t create havoc for the party’s business partners.
However, for most first marriages, a pre-nup may cause more harm than good. » Read more..
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Consider these consequences if you die in Minnesota without an estate plan: » Read more..
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If you want maximum control over your assets, a pre-nuptial agreement is a good idea.
Without a pre-nup, Minnesota law determines who gets what in the event of a divorce or your death. With a pre-nup, your pre-nup contract determines what happens. However, a Minnesota pre-nup must be “procedurally and “substantively fair”. » Read more..
What should you look for in selecting an estate planning attorney?
At a minimum, you should look for the following attributes when selecting an attorney to help you with your estate plan: » Read more..