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Estate Planning is About Life as much as Death

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Thoughtful estate planning may help you build the size of your estate, rather than just focusing on what happens to your money and other possessions after you die.

A proper estate plan typically includes typical documents such as a Will and possibly a Trust, but there’s more. » 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..

A Trust Won’t Always Avoid Probate

Probate CourtSetting 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..

Does Your Estate Plan Need a Tune Up?

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..

When Should You Consider a Revocable Living Trust?

You don’t need to be a millionaire to benefit from a Revocable Living Trust. Regardless of your wealth, a Revocable Living Trust should be considered when you:

Want the opportunity to avoid probate. Probate is required in Minnesota if you own $75,000 or more in probate assets in your name alone at your death, or you own real estate in your name alone. Any assets held in the name of your Revocable Living Trust are not counted toward the $75,000 figure that triggers a probate action.  Probate costs money and takes time. » Read more..

The Impact of Owning Minnesota Real Estate as “Joint Tenants” v. “Tenants in Common”

Perhaps you’ve never given much thought to the words on the deed to your Minnesota real estate, but whether you own it as joint tenants or tenants in common can make a big difference as to what you own. The difference also impacts how, when and to whom the real estate is transferred.

Joint tenants own an undivided interest in the property whereas tenants in common own a specific percentage. Why does the difference matter? » Read more..

“One to Buy; Two to Sell”

If you are married and own real estate in Minnesota, your spouse must agree to the sale of that property whether or not your spouse’s name is on the title to the property.

This short-hand description of this rule is: “one to buy; two to sell”. In other words, the signatures of both spouses are not needed to purchase the Minnesota real estate, but both signatures are needed to sell it. » Read more..

Estate Planning is as Much About Life as Death

Thoughtful estate planning can help you build the size of your estate, rather than just focusing on what happens to your money and other possessions after you die.

A good estate plan is more than just the estate planning documents that you receive from your estate planning attorney. And, it is more than avoiding probate and minimizing estate taxes.   » Read more..

Cons Outweigh the Pros in Deeding Your Home to Your Kids Before You Die

Parents who share ownership of the parental home with their children (“jointly held”) – or gift the home entirely to their children — during the parents’ lifetime invite trouble rather than accomplish effective estate planning. » Read more..

Does it Matter if Your Minnesota Home is Abstract or Torrens Property?

Ownership of real estate is determined in one of two ways in Minnesota – the Torrens system or the Abstract system.

Does it matter which one your Minnesota home is titled under? The answer to that question is both “yes” and “no”. » Read more..