Archive for Non-Traditional Families

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..

Will My Step-Children Inherit?

If you want your step-children to inherit, you need to specify that wish in your Minnesota Will or Revocable Living Trust.

If you don’t do so, then only your blood relatives or adopted children will inherit.

Without a Will (and assuming that you have no surviving spouse), your children inherit in equal shares under Minnesota law. No provision is provided for step-children. » Read more..

Choosing Your Estate Planning Attorney

What should you look for in selecting an estate planning attorney?

At a minimum, you should look for the following attributes when selecting an attorney to help you with your estate plan: » Read more..

Not Married, But Want Your Partner to Inherit?

Not married, but want your partner to inherit?  Then you must have an estate plan or your blood relatives will get everything. » Read more..

Testamentary Trusts v. Revocable Living Trusts

Which is better – a trust written inside a Will (a Testamentary Trust), or a Revocable Living Trust?  The answer depends upon your situation and preferences.

A Testamentary Trust only becomes effective upon your death, at which time the trust becomes irrevocable. A Revocable Living Trust is effective as soon as you create it during your lifetime, and is amendable and revocable until you become mentally incapacitated or die.  » Read more..

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Consider these consequences if you die in Minnesota without an estate plan:

  •  If you and your spouse die while your children are under age 18, the State of Minnesota will select a guardian for them, and you may not like the state’s choice. Solution: A Will enables you to nominate a guardian for your minor children.
  •  As soon as they turn age 18, your kids will get access to all of the money and property that they inherit from you, and they’ll be able to spend the money however they wish.  Solution: A Trust can be written to control the ages at which your children gain access to the money and property that they inherit from you.  » Read more..

Pros and Cons of Life Estates

A life estate is established when a parent transfers title to his or her home or farm to his or her children, but reserves the right to live in the house for the remainder of the parent’s life. In legal terms, the parent is known as the “life tenant”. The children are the “remainderpersons”, i.e. the persons entitled to inherit the entire property upon the death of the life tenant.  The life tenant pays the property taxes, insurance and upkeep, and is entitled to any income generated by the property.

There are pros and cons to life estates. » Read more..

Second Marriage? Don’t Forget the Trust & the Pre-Nup & the Retirement Plan Waiver

Adults entering second marriages, but having children from a first marriage, should have a pre-nuptial agreement, a trust, and a qualified retirement plan waiver. Relying on a trust alone may not work because the new spouse could challenge the trust under Minnesota law. And, the only way that a new spouse can be waived as the beneficiary of a “qualified retirement plan” is if the new spouse does the waiving.  » Read more..