Estate Planning

Will My Family Inherit My Debts?

Are you deep in debt? If so, you’re not alone. While much of estate planning revolves around assets there are those who will leave more in the way of debts. If you’re in this situation you may be quite worried about how you will protect your loved ones from your bad financial situation. Fortunately, there’s good news. Your heirs will not inherit your debt directly. Your credit card bill will not suddenly pass into their name. That doesn’t mean creditors won’t try to make an argument that you let your heirs assume responsibility for some debts in certain situations, so make sure to consult with an attorney if you want to avoid this situation. Secured debt is a little different. If you want your heirs..

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Why Should I Update My Will?

A will is not a set it and forget it document. You should revisit your will periodically. Why? Because things change. Your designated executor might die before you do. You might divorce your spouse. Or you might remarry. You could adopt children or have new children. You could have a severe falling out with an adult child. Each of these situations creates scenarios which would cause you to either need or want to make a change in your will. However, you won’t necessarily think of your will while you’re in the middle of a change or an upheaval. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a habit out of periodically reviewing your will. Most of the time, there will probably be little or nothing..

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What Happens When Someone Contests a Will?

Are you worried that your family won’t pay attention to your last wishes after you die? Contesting a will can happen, but contrary to television drama it’s not quite as common as people imagine. Your relatives can contest your will if they have reason to believe it was signed improperly. If you work with a qualified estate planning attorney this shouldn’t happen, simply because your attorney will make sure that your will is signed and witnessed in accordance with the law. Your relatives an also contest your will if you were mentally unfit in the time the will was signed. If you have Alzheimer’s or another mind-altering illness when you finally get around to doing your will you could open your will up to..

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Transporting and Spreading of Cremated Remains

Cremation has become a common and popular method of putting our loved ones to rest. More and more of us are requesting that our remains be spread in a place with meaning for us or our family, or in exotic places. In practicing law for over 25 years, I have been asked many times by clients, friends and relatives about the law related to the spreading of ashes. It is important to understand the law governing the transportation of and spreading of cremated remains in order to avoid the pitfalls. While Minnesota has some specific laws in this regard, there are not many. Minn. Stat. § 149A.96, subd. 9, entitled “Cremated Remains” provides: Subject to section 149A.95, subdivision 16, inurnment of the cremated remains and..

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The Benefits of Setting up a Trust

Setting up a trust can convey many estate planning benefits. However it’s important to set up the right trust for the right situation and to get a qualified estate lawyer to help you do the job correctly. Trusts can help you avoid probate because they name a beneficiary. If you’ll recall from our previous discussion on probate, assets with a living, named beneficiary rarely, if ever, have to go through probate. Trusts can also reduce the amount of estate taxes that a beneficiary might have to pay. However, you have to set up the trust correctly. There are different kinds of trusts with different rules governing them. An after-death trust actually does, for example, put your assets right back into probate. Those assets then..

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