Planning for the end of your life can be difficult but putting an estate plan in place can be crucial to caring for your family’s needs for years to come. Planning includes simple documents, such as a will to more complex strategies like trusts.
Minnesota state laws are specific about what can or can’t be placed in a will or trust as well as the rules for choosing a personal representative, health care surrogate or attorney in fact.
Basic factors to consider in estate planning
Whether you choose a will to distribute your assets or favor a more complicated trust, there are many advantages to having an estate plan:
- Avoiding probate: Probate is the process of authenticating a will under the court’s supervision. It includes determining the value of one’s estate, paying debts and distributing the remainder of the estate to heirs. Family members, friends, creditors and others can challenge a will. However, the advice of an estate planning attorney can help benefactors avoid probate altogether.
- Reducing taxes: Estate or inheritance taxes can eat up a sizable portion of a deceased person’s assets. Putting a plan in place, including setting up a revocable living trust or other advanced estate planning technique can significantly reduce or eliminate taxes.
- Avoiding messes: Many of us know families negatively impacted by the lack of estate planning, which can lead to a court distributing your assets. Working with an attorney to create a plan and choosing someone you trust to manage your estate should you become mentally or physically incapacitated can avoid costly fights and probate proceedings.
- Protecting beneficiaries: Estate plans can protect beneficiaries who are minors by managing their assets until they turn 21 or another age of your choosing. They can also protect adult beneficiaries from bad decisions, outside influences, creditor problems and divorcing spouses.
- Protecting assets: An estate plan can help you protect your assets from lawsuits filed against you. This can include judgments for negligent acts, such as a car accident that’s your fault, to foreclosure proceedings if you have stopped paying your mortgage.
Seek experienced advice for end-of-life planning
You have worked hard to build wealth for yourself and your family. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney here in Minnesota can help manage your assets, protect your well-being and your family’s future. Whether you need to set up a simple will or a more complicated trust, an attorney can protect your rights to provide for your loved ones and see that your final wishes are followed.