Tag Archive for death

Should You Have a Will or a Trust?

Wooden dice with question marks on it over white background

Whether a Will or a Revocable Living Trust is best for you depends on your goals and situation.

An estate planning lawyer can help you review the pros and cons of each based on your needs and desires.

A Revocable Living Trust is more flexible than a Will, and may help married persons avoid Minnesota’s estate tax. However, a Revocable Living Trust is more expensive to set up, and requires you to proactively assign various assets to your Trust for your Trust to work properly. » Read more..

First Marriage: Should You Sign that Pre-Nup?

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..

POA and Beneficiary Designations

Under Minnesota law, an agent given power of attorney (POA) authority cannot change the beneficiary designations made by the power grantor.

Minnesota’s statutory so-called “short form” power of attorney document may authorize the agent to act regarding beneficiary transactions, but there is no specific authority to select or modify beneficiary designations made by the power grantor. As an example of a transaction, the power grantor’s agent (officially called an attorney-in-fact) may accept or disclaim assets for which the power grantor was named as a beneficiary of someone else’s assets. » Read more..

Why We Should Talk About Death and Dying

Isn’t it more than a bit illogical that the one thing that we know will happen to each of us – death – is a topic that we understand so little and are ill-prepared to handle?

The more we know about the process of dying and about our loved ones’ wishes for their own deaths, the more comfort we and our loved ones can enjoy. Knowledge leads to less fear and the greater likelihood of a “good death”. » Read more..

Did Mom Loan or Gift Money to Brother?

Whether Mom intended the cash that she gave to your brother to be a loan or a gift can be a contentious issue when it’s time to divvy up Mom’s estate after Mom’s death.

Mom may have wanted everything she owns divided equally among her three children.  But what about that money that Mom gave to your brother before her death?  Was it an outright gift? Was it a loan which was to be repaid? Was it an advance against brother’s share of Mom’s estate?  Will brother end up with more than his one-third share in the end? » Read more..

Do You Need a Pre-Nup?

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..

Why Not Write Your Own Obituary?

Writing your own obituary has several advantages, doesn’t it?

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 funeral or memorial service. And, you also influence what you want people to remember about you.

Obituaries are perhaps the one newspaper item that tends to be kept through the ages. Obituaries are sometimes pasted inside the cover of the family Bible, or kept in a family scrapbook. They are a much beloved resource for persons doing genealogy research. » Read more..

The Minnesota Funeral is Over, Now What?

When the funeral is over, search for the Will of your loved one, secure his or her possessions and contact a lawyer.

If there is a Will, your loved one has nominated someone in his or her Will to be the personal representative for purposes of settling the estate. However, no one becomes the personal representative until the Minnesota Probate Court accepts the nomination.

If there is no Will, Minnesota law sets out procedures for naming someone as a personal representative. Again, court approval is necessary.

Did your loved one reside in their home alone at the time of their death? If so, secure your loved one’s home and possessions so that nothing is removed until it is legally appropriate to do so. Park or store the car in a secure area. Take steps to make the house appear “lived in” to help deter theft. Remove any snow from the driveway and keep the lawn mowed. » Read more..

Death Means Tax Talk Galore. Oh My!

Most of us are familiar with income taxes and property taxes, but death triggers the discussion of a jungle of other taxes: estate taxes, inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes and gift taxes. What’s the difference? » Read more..

When the Minnesota Good Life Ends, What’s a Good Death?

Definitions of a “good death” vary by person, but most people want some control so that they can end life as they desire. While there’s no way to control all aspects of your death, a Minnesota legal document called a Health Care Directive gives you some choices and control when you can’t speak for yourself. A Health Care Directive incorporates what Minnesotans used to call a “living will”.

» Read more..