Tag Archive for heirs

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..

When Is Probate Preferred?

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..

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..

Revocable Living Trusts v. Testamentary Trusts

Trust Doc 2Which is better – a Revocable Living Trust or a Testamentary Trust? What’s the difference between them?

As the names imply, a Revocable Living Trust exists during your lifetime whereas a Testamentary Trust becomes effective only upon your death. » Read more..

Amending a Will v. Amending a Trust

Will docProcedures for making changes to your Minnesota Will differ from making changes to your Revocable Trust.

Even the terms describing amendments to these documents are different. An amendment to your Will is called a “Codicil” whereas an amendment to your Revocable Trust is called an “Amendment”. » Read more..

An Estate Plan is Not Just Documents

Estate PlanYou may be seriously short-changing yourself and your heirs if you try to create an estate plan by filling out a form downloaded from the Internet.

An estate plan is more than just documents.

Think of it this way: Chances are that you aren’t just looking for a certain “pill” when you visit a doctor. Instead you want to tap into the doctor’s experience and knowledge so that the remedy prescribed for you correctly treats your symptoms. Similarly, it’s best to tap into the knowledge and experience of an estate planning lawyer in devising your estate plan.  Just like a pill is merely one possible consequence of a medical consultation, a Will document is but one aspect of your consultation with an estate planning lawyer. » Read more..

What is Probate?

iStock_000004014203SmallHave you seen the ads that encourage you to take steps to avoid probate?

Probate in Minnesota does take some time and does cost some money, but typically it’s not the legal equivalent of a root canal.

Probate is a Court-directed process for paying the deceased’s debts and taxes, and then transferring the remaining assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries. » Read more..

Pros & Cons to Probate in Minnesota

Probate Court

Although most Minnesotans seek to avoid probate, there are pros to probate as well as cons.

Because probate involves the court — an open and public process — probate provides a level of transparency to all potential heirs and beneficiaries that may not exist otherwise. » Read more..

Why You Need an Estate Plan

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

What if the Original Copy of a Minnesota Will is Missing?

When you cannot find the original copy of the Will of a recently deceased friend or relative, Minnesota’s Probate Court may accept a copy of the Will instead.

However, Minnesota law requires that the estate then be probated formally, which is a more expensive process than informal probate. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to place the original Will in a safety deposit box or in a secure place in one’s home. It is also important that relatives or friends know where to find it. » Read more..