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..
Typically, people want to avoid probate, but there are times when probate is the better path.
(Probate is a legal process in which a court formally appoints a personal representative to administer the deceased’s estate. Probate may occur whether or not the deceased had a Will. When the deceased’s Will names someone to be the personal representative, the selection is considered a “nomination” – not an appointment. It is the court that “appoints” and provides the official documentation that enables the nominated personal representative to act.)
People often prefer to avoid probate because the probate process is public, takes time, costs money, and involves some hassle.
But sometimes probate may be the preferred — or required — path because the court can resolve issues, thereby reducing pressure on the personal representative. Some examples are: » Read more..
You can’t disinherit your Minnesota spouse unless he or she signed away those rights in a validly executed pre-nup or post-nup agreement.
Otherwise, even if you specifically omit your spouse in your Will, your surviving spouse has up to 9 months after your death to “elect against the Will” and seek the surviving spouse’s so-called “elective share”.
Calculating the elective share is a complicated process, but generally and loosely speaking, the Court looks at the combined assets of the deceased and surviving spouse. The Court then applies a certain percentage against that number for the award to the surviving spouse. The size of the percentage varies based on the number of years of marriage. The percentages start at 3% for one year of marriage. The maximum percentage is 50% for 15 or more years of marriage. » 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..
Have you and your children had “the talk” about your estate?
You may think that you have the best-crafted estate plan that you can have. However, if your children don’t learn about it until your death, and are surprised by it, you may unintentionally trigger resentment and fighting that my last throughout their lifetimes. » Read more..
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..
Thoughtful estate planning may help you build the size of your estate, rather than just focusing on what happens to your money and other possessions after you die.
A proper estate plan typically includes typical documents such as a Will and possibly a Trust, but there’s more. » Read more..
Nasty 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..
By writing your own obituary, you spare your grieving family the burden of trying to write one within the few days between your death and your funeral or memorial service. You also influence what you want people to remember about you.
The obituary of Bill Maurer of Des Moines, Iowa captures the reader right from the beginning with this introduction: “Bill Maurer’s goal was to live to be 113. He didn’t make it.” » Read more..
You don’t need to be a millionaire or billionaire to benefit from a Revocable Living Trust.
A key benefit of a Revocable Living Trust is to control the ages at which your children receive their inheritance. Without a trust, sons and daughters as young as 18 years of age receive full distribution of their inheritance in Minnesota once your estate is settled. » Read more..