Estate Planning Archives

Funding trusts

Minnesota residents can include a trust in their estate plan to ensure that their assets are handled according to their wishes after they die. However, it is important that they fund the trust.

Special needs trusts could provide long-term support

People with certain disabilities face a dilemma when they receive a large settlement or inheritance. Because of strict Medicaid rules, people who receive government benefits may only own a limited amount of assets in their own names. Fortunately, it may not be necessary for disabled people in Minnesota to choose between forfeiting a large sum of money or giving up their medical benefits.

Moving beyond a will to comprehensive planning

Many people in Minnesota may have a simple will and assume that they've adequately handled all of their estate planning needs. However, a will often does not address all of the issues with which a person's beneficiaries may be confronted, so a full-scale estate plan can be important in providing a clearer transition for the future. This is especially true when people have a private practice, like doctors, lawyers or accountants, or another type of small business. The enterprise itself can be an important asset that is more complex to deal with than regular personal property, which can make estate planning particularly important.

Changing estate plans during a divorce

Estranged Minnesota couples expect that a divorce will lead to a number of significant financial, emotional and practical changes. However, there are additional issues that are often not addressed yet can have long-reaching effects and that should be handled in order to avoid problems later down the line. Estate planning is one of these concerns, as the decisions about what to do with property after death and who to trust with key decisions may change after the end of a marriage.

Include a pour-over will to supplement a trust

A revocable trust offers many advantages. One of the most attractive features of a living trust is that having one could help a person's family avoid probate. As long as assets are transferred to the trust, they may pass directly to beneficiaries without having to go through a lengthy probate process. Unfortunately, there's always a possibility that a Minnesota senior will acquire property they don't get a chance to transfer to their trust before they die.

Asset control and protection motivate estate planning

Making arrangements for the distribution of an estate represents an important task for people in Minnesota regardless of their wealth level. Without an estate plan in place before someone's death, the state will step in to manage an estate. An estate plan can even serve a person prior to death by protecting assets from the costs of living in a nursing home. By making decisions ahead of time and putting a financial plan in writing, people generally overcome arbitrary inheritance laws and preserve assets for heirs.

How to divide assets among children

It is common for Minnesota residents to struggle with how they should divide their estates. Families might worry because their children may have different needs. If everything is just divided equally among the kids, one child may be left worse off than another. If a child who has fewer means receives more, a sibling may be bitter.

Procrastination with estate planning could lead to problems

Some people in Minnesota might dislike talking about money or death. This natural emotional resistance, however, could leave a person and family unprepared if an unexpected event leaves someone incapacitated or dead. A lack of financial planning could also make an elderly person vulnerable to financial abuse, which strikes approximately 20 percent of people over age 65.

Choosing trustees for trusts

Minnesota residents can use a trust to help ensure that their financial legacy will be protected. A trust is also useful for managing inheritance taxes. However, when individuals create a trust, they should make sure that they select the right person to serve as trustee.

Estate planning mistakes lead to costly delays and bad outcomes

Unfortunately, too many people in Minnesota procrastinate about estate planning. This sometimes means that people die without a will, or intestate. Without an executed will, state and local laws arbitrarily manage the distribution of assets. This process generally requires family members to incur court costs. Furthermore, some relatives may have to prove their relationships to the deceased so that the court can designate them as heirs.

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