Norman thought estate planning was unnecessary. After all, his family and friends knew what he wanted. He trusted them to carry out his wishes after he was gone. Norman did not realize how his failure to create an estate plan would affect his family. If he had, maybe he would have talked to an estate planning attorney before the massive stroke he suffered before his death last year.
Preparing an estate plan lets you say who gets what. This may not sound like a big deal, but it can be. If nothing is in writing – no Will, for example – then the courts will decide how to distribute your property.
Just about every person leaves estate assets that have to be distributed through a probate proceeding. But there are better ways for your loved ones to get their inheritance. Trusts, property titling, and beneficiary designations are other ways you may help your family avoid probate.
Your estate may never grow large enough to face a federal estate tax bill. However, Minnesota also levies an estate tax. The exemption limit is much lower than the federal exemption limit. It’s just a good idea to see what the tax consequences will be to your family when you pass away. There are ways to minimize your estate’s tax bill.
Families are often stressed to the limit after a loved one dies. Immediately after someone passes, their family and friends need time to grieve, not worry about probate. Wills name executors to handle estate assets. Trusts are managed by trustees. You can help you family tremendously by choosing trustees and executors through your estate planning.
Not all estate planning documents are related to death. Some documents help the testator and family deal with incapacity issues. For example, a durable power of attorney and health care directive allow individuals to authorize an agent to act for them if necessary.
If privacy is a great concern to you, talk to an estate planning attorney. It’s possible a trust, a revocable living for example, might be right for you. Wills become part of the public record during probate. Trusts, however, do not.
If you’re worried about an heir with reckless financial tendencies, talk to an attorney about a spendthrift or discretionary trust. This type of trust also helps protect a beneficiary’s inheritance from civil judgments and other claims.
You and Your Family Are Worth It!
Many people feel a great sense of relief and peace after putting together their estate plans. Push past the excuses that stand between you and a well-crafted estate plan.
At Virtus Law, we know it can be difficult to talk about estate planning. To schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys, contact us at 612.888.1000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, with other offices located in Maplewood, Cambridge, Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.