Estate Planning

How Does Probate Work in Minnesota?

Probate in Minnesota may seem a little mysterious, but it’s actually relatively straightforward. Here’s what you need to know. First, probate is just the process of settling the estate when you die. Popular fiction and television have often characterized it as a court’s attempt to make sure the state keeps as much of your property as possible, but that’s not actually what happens. In fact, probate can be as simple or as complicated as your documentation and your heirs make it. The first step is to determine what does and does not need to go through probate. Property that you already own with another person doesn’t go through probate, for example. If you and your spouse have a joint bank account and both of your..

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Should You Use Estate Planning Software?

Estate planning software, like a do-it-yourself will template, can create a very problematic situation for your loved ones after you die. There are 5 primary reasons why you should steer clear of this option. Poor Asset Protection Tax laws are complicated, far more complicated than most software accounts for. If you want to make sure most of your estate stays in the hands of your family and not in the hands of Uncle Sam or Minnesota Revenue then you should steer clear of estate planning software. A good estate attorney can help you take advantage of tax laws to maximize the inheritance that you leave. Software Can’t Handle Common Issues Most people’s estates just aren’t as simple as they imagine. Situations that look..

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Is a Do-It-Yourself Last Will and Testament a Good Idea?

If you’re thinking about writing up a do-it-yourself last will and testament instead of consulting qualified estate attorneys you’re not alone. The Internet has certainly made this a popular option. However, writing your own last will and testament can be extremely problematic, especially if your situation is very complicated. An improperly executed will can turn a probate process of a few months into a long, drawn out battle of years. The presence of your badly written will may keep your personal representative from using the simplified probate process. In fact, even the omission of very simple language that you might never think of on your own can call the validity of the will into question. Online will templates may also lead you to make..

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Dying Without a Will (Intestate) in Minnesota

Dying without a will (Intestate) means losing control of what happens to your assets after death. Here’s what your family can expect if you haven’t taken care of this important detail before your death. In Minnesota the state maintains a sort of will for you in the form of specific formulas that are used to divide up your property in the absence of a will. The assets pass first to your spouse and then to your children. If you don’t have either the state will move on to grandchildren, brothers and sisters, and then other relatives as necessary. The state makes every effort to find heirs. If they can’t, your property reverts to the state. This may not sound so bad, but what..

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Estate Planning Review: Choosing a Will or a Trust

by Doug Dehn Winter 2007 In Brief Newsletter Should I have a Will or a Trust? This is a common client interview starting point. The answer is not always simple. Discussion ensues as to what the pros and cons are as to Wills and Revocable Living Trusts (RLTs). Wills may simply name your beneficiaries, personal representative and alternates and contain other basic terms. A will may also contain a Contingent Trust for the benefit of children or grandchildren, a Disclaimer Trust for estate tax planning purposes, or both. An RLT, designed to avoid probate and insure privacy, also designates beneficiaries, successor trustees and alternates. An RLT may also contain a Contingent Trust, A Disclaimer Trust or both. Because there are relatively simple steps with a..

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