Estate Planning Archives

Estate planning and digital assets

Minnesota residents should make sure that their estate plans include provisions for their digital assets. Doing so can prevent surviving loved ones from having to handle the frustrating and sometimes expensive process of properly managing the digital assets left behind by a deceased loved one.

What should be included in an estate plan

According to a 2016 survey from Rocket Lawyer, 64 percent of Americans don't have a will. While those living in Minnesota could struggle dealing with their own mortality, estate planning can make it easier for survivors to carry out a person's final wishes. An estate plan can also have benefits for people while they are alive. For instance, it could contain language that prevents unwanted medical treatment if a person becomes incapacitated.

Dealing with a spouse's debts after death

Some spouses in Minnesota may wonder how their debts will impact others after they pass away. Debts can accumulate as a person reaches the end of life, especially if medical bills begin to escalate. However, it is important to understand the relationship between debt, marriage and death to help make clear decisions during the estate planning process.

Problems with estate plans

People in Minnesota should review their estate plans to see if there are indications that it may not be as effective as they want it to be. This is particularly important if it has been some years since the estate plan has been completed and if it has not been updated.

Trusts to adult children can be a great estate plan option

People in Minnesota considering the distribution of their assets and properties after death often consider the use of a trust when devising gifts to minor children and other young people. The estate planning process can include the use of a range of instruments, including wills, trusts, insurance policies and non-probate transfers, in order to transfer an estate to beneficiaries. Trusts can be an important part of an estate planning strategy: Because they involve trustworthy and often professional management, they can help secure assets and ensure that they are not wasted.

Reasons to use a trust even with adult children

Some Minnesota parents who are creating an estate plan and who have adult children might want to consider putting the assets in a trust. While it is common to do this for minor children, people might not think about how responsible their adult children will be with finances. However, there are several reasons to use a trust in this type of a situation.

Federal tax reform and estate planning

Minnesota residents should be aware of how the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact estate planning. One of the more significant aspects of the tax legislation is that it gives taxpayers the chance to transfer a substantial amount of money without being assessed estate, generation-skipping transfer or gift taxes.

Estate planning is important for small businesses

For many individuals in Minnesota, the benefits of estate planning on personal assets are clear. However, proper planning can be equally important to protect the ongoing longevity of a business. When a business owner passes away, it can be far too easy for a company to fail. This is especially true when the business is a small, closely-held operation.

How to estate plan after recent tax changes

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the federal estate tax exemption to $11 million for individuals throughout Minnesota and the rest of the U.S. Married couples can combine their individual exemptions to protect up to $22 million in assets. Therefore, estate planning may no longer be about tax efficiency for some people. However, it is still a good idea for individuals to engage in estate planning to help create and preserve their legacies into the future.

Blended families and estate planning disputes

Some families in Minnesota might become embroiled in disputes over an estate plan if there are stepparents and stepchildren involved. According to one study, only about 20 percent of adult stepchildren say they are close to their stepmothers. Women also have longer life expectancies than men do, so it might be more likely for the dispute to involve stepmothers than stepfathers.

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