The danger of thinking that your Will covers the transfer of all your assets at your death is that the distribution of your assets may not end up as you intended.
Your Minnesota Will covers only what is known as your “probate assets”. If your Will provides that each of your 3 children is to inherit one-third of your estate, each child will inherit one-third of your “probate assets” only.
Stated another way, the wording of your Will has no impact on assets that are considered “non-probate assets”, and your non-probate assets may be a significant portion of your estate. » Read more..
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Setting up a Revocable Living Trust is a good first step to avoiding probate, but it is only a first step.
You still must transfer the title of your assets to the trustee of your Revocable Living Trust.
Even if you’ve already transferred title to some of your assets, the key is whether you’ve properly done so with enough of your assets. » Read more..
Your estate plan — like your car — needs a tune-up occasionally.
If you don’t get that tune-up, either your estate planning goals may not be met, and/or you may be paying hundreds — if not thousands — more for legal services and/or other costs than would have been the case if you had timely asked a lawyer to review your estate plan and suggest necessary adjustments based on current laws and your current goals. » Read more..
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If some of the language in your Will or Trust seems foreign to you, you are not alone. Here’s a rundown of some commonly used terms, and a description of what they mean:
Testator (male) or Testatrix (female): This is you, if this is your Will.
Settlor or Grantor: This is you, if this is your Trust. » Read more..
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The value of the assets that you hold at your death is viewed two different ways: one way by the Probate Court and another way by taxing authorities. It’s easy to confuse the two versions. » Read more..
At death, your assets are figuratively divided into two piles – probate assets and non-probate assets – but why should you care?
The division has nothing to do with whether or not you owe federal or Minnesota estate taxes. For that purpose, all of your assets are counted, including the value of any life insurance benefits that are paid out to your beneficiaries upon your death.
However, the categorization into probate and non-probate assets matters when it comes to determining whether or not the aid of the probate court is needed to transfer title to the new owners or whether the transfer can occur without the court’s involvement. » Read more..
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