Tag Archive for probate

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

 

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..

A Will is Not Enough

Surprise! Beneficiary designations on assets such as life insurance and retirement accounts trump anything that you state in your Will or Trust.

Thus, your estate plan is not finished just because you’ve signed a Will or Trust. You also must review your beneficiary designations to ensure that they are in sync with your overall estate plan wishes.

Several types of assets allow beneficiary designations, such as life insurance, retirement plans, health savings accounts, annuities, 529 accounts, Payable on Death (P.O.D.) accounts and Transfer on Death (T.O.D.) accounts. » 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..

Should Family Pay the Deceased’s Bills?

Careful! It may be best to pause before paying bills of the deceased.

It’s important to first know what the assets of the estate are, and what claims are being made against those assets. Is the estate solvent? If not, Minnesota law sets out a priority list for paying creditors. The creditors at the bottom of the priority list may not receive anything. » 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..

Trusts Aren’t Just for Millionaires

Trust Doc 2You 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..

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..

Avoiding Probate with Minnesota’s Transfer on Death Deed

iStock_000004014203SmallMinnesota’s Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) for real estate is a popular way for Minnesota families to try to avoid probate upon the death of the property owner.

Probate in Minnesota isn’t the onerous process that it is in some states, but probate takes time and costs money regardless. Thus, many Minnesotans try to avoid probate.

Probate is triggered in Minnesota when the deceased: (1) owns real estate in his or her name alone, or (2) owns $75,000 or more in probate assets in his or her name alone. This blog focuses solely on the first trigger – ownership of real estate. » Read more..