Tag Archive for Minnesota

How Much Does It Cost to Settle an Estate?

How much does it cost to settle an Estate? The realistic, but unsatisfying, answer is: “It depends”.

Expenses include the cost of disposition of the deceased’s remains whether a body burial or cremation is performed, plus the costs of any associated memorial or celebration-of-life ceremony.

Costs also include the purchase of certified copies of the deceased’s death certificate, which is an official documentation of the deceased’s death. The death certificate may be required to claim life insurance and military benefits, to gain access to the deceased’s financial accounts, to transfer the deceased’s real estate, and to present to the Minnesota county court if probate is necessary. Typically, the funeral home handling the deceased’s body will order the death certificates for you from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Fees for the services provided by a Minnesota attorney who is assisting in settling the estate are typically charged by the hour. Similarly, fees for accounting services are also likely incurred and depend on the time required. Potential income tax returns include a return that covers the time from Jan. 1 through the deceased’s date of death, and an income tax return for the estate if sufficient income is earned by the estate prior to the distribution of assets from the estate.

If the deceased owned real estate, attorney and county recording fees are incurred to transfer the deceased’s interest in the real estate either to the deceased’s beneficiaries or to an outside buyer.

If probate is required, expect court filing fees. Probate is the court process for settling an estate. Probate is required in Minnesota if the deceased owned real estate in the deceased’s name alone, or if the deceased owned $75,000 or more in probate assets in the deceased’s name alone. Note that not all assets are probate assets.

When probate is required, the estate also incurs publication fees for the publication of legal notice of the death and the notice to possible creditors.

Also, under Minnesota law, the person acting as Personal Representative of the estate may collect fees for his or her services.

Has a surprise popped up? Fighting? If so, the time and expense involved in settling the deceased’s estate will further increase.

Executing a well-thought-out estate and funeral plan before death may substantially reduce the costs – financial and emotional – of settling an estate. And, it may help you settle the estate without triggering a probate action.

©2019 Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This Blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, please seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in the state where you live. Wittenburg Law does not expressly or implicitly warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the Blog’s contents. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading this Blog. If you are interested in Wittenburg Law’s representation of you, you must contact Wittenburg Law for a determination of whether your matter is one for which Wittenburg Law is willing and able to accept representation of you.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, 601 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, MN 55305 952-649-9771    bonnie@bwittenburglaw.com   www.bwittenburglaw.com

 

Why Do Women Need to Take the Lead in Estate Planning?

Why do women need to take the lead in estate planning?

Women need to lead because it is typically the woman that sits in front of the undertaker given that – statistically speaking — her husband will die first. Thus, she has to deal with the immediate arrangements involving the disposition of her husband’s body and the settlement of his estate. These tasks can be overwhelming – especially when accompanied by the grief process – unless she has taken an active role in the couple’s estate and funeral planning. » Read more..

A Revocable Living Trust Still Requires a Will

Minnesotans still need a Will even if they have a Revocable Living Trust.

The Will that accompanies a Revocable Living Trust is different, however, than a Will that is the sole testamentary document.

Typically, people think of Wills as saying “who gets what” of your assets.  When a Minnesotan has a Revocable Living Trust, it’s a chief task of the trust document to say “who gets what”. If more than one document described the distribution of all of the deceased’s assets, there would be confusion.

So what is the need for a Will when there’s a Revocable Living Trust? » Read more..

The Power Behind a Power of Attorney

A Minnesota Power of Attorney document is used to give another adult the power to handle your financial matters.

The key is to select carefully the person that you name as your agent – known as your “attorney-in-fact”. Despite the label “attorney-in-fact”, the person that you appoint cannot act as your attorney.  Nor does the person that you name need to be a lawyer. » Read more..

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..

Second Marriage? No Will?

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..

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..

Must I Give My Kids an Inheritance?

Will your kids think less of you if they don’t inherit anything from you at your death? Will you feel guilty if you don’t – or can’t — provide them with an inheritance?

Inheritance of any size is a windfall for the children who receive it given that they most likely didn’t do anything to earn it.

Some wealthy parents don’t want their children to inherit more than a fraction of their estate out of concern that their children may not use it wisely or may develop bad habits.

Other parents may be concerned that health care costs, and the living expenses associated with living longer than past generations, may make it unlikely that the parents will have any money left to give to their children. » Read more..

Pros & Cons of Minnesota’s Transfer-on-Death Deed

Minnesota’s Transfer-on-Death Deed (TODD) has been a popular estate planning tool since 2008, when a law enabling the technique became effective.

The homeowner uses a TODD to designate who should inherit a specific parcel of real estate after the homeowner’s death. The TODD must be recorded with the county recorder (or registrar of titles, as the case may be) in the Minnesota county where the property is located prior to the death of the homeowner. » Read more..

Estate Planning for Blended Families

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..