Tag Archive for estate

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..

Talk to Your Intended Heirs

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..

Estate Planning is About Life as much as Death

legacy - isolated word in vintage letterpress wood type

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..

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..

Should the Personal Representative of an Estate Seek Pay?

When the Personal Representative of an Estate (also known as the Executor) is a family member, he or she often agrees to work for free before fully understanding the amount of work involved.

And, because other family members likely don’t understand the responsibilities of the Personal Representative, and the time that it takes to carry out those responsibilities, the Personal Representative may not even get a “thank you” for his or her work. » 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..

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Consider these consequences if you die in Minnesota without an estate plan: » Read more..

Basics of the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)

If the proceeds from life insurance policies that you own, when combined with the value of your other assets, exceed the $1.4 million exemption from Minnesota’s estate tax for persons dying in 2015, then you may want to consider an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT). » 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..

Options for the Family Cabin Hand-off to the Next Generation

The hand-off of the family cabin or vacation home to the next generation is fraught with emotional, legal and financial considerations at any time, but particularly when the goal is to keep the cabin or vacation home in the family.

There are several options in Minnesota for executing the hand-off – each with its own pros and cons. » Read more..