Estate Planning in Minnesota

Proper Estate Planning can provide you with peace of mind and help avoid costly future estate litigation.  Swanson Law Office is pleased to offer a full range of estate planning services for you and your family including:

1.      Wills
2.      Health Care Directives
3.      Powers of Attorney
4.      Revocable Trusts
5.      Irrevocable Trusts
6.      Charitable Remainder Trusts
7.      Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
8.      Special Needs Trusts
9.      Assistance with Beneficiary Designations on 401(k)s, IRAs, and Life Insurance

Last Will and Testament

Every person eighteen (18) years of age or older needs a will to ensure that your estate will be distributed based on your wishes.

Having a will (often called a “Last Will and Testament”) gives you peace of mind knowing that your estate will be distributed as you wish and your final desires will be respected.   A will is one of the most essential estate planning tools.  In a will, you (the “testator” or “testatrix”) set forth a plan of distribution for your assets upon your death.  Other topics that can be addressed in a will include:

  • Naming a guardian for your children;
  • Naming a personal representative to administer your estate upon your death;
  • Creation of a testamentary trust to spring out of your will to ensure that your children (or other underage beneficiaries) will not have access to assets of the estate until they are mature enough to handle it;
  • Naming a testamentary trustee;
  • Specifying your wishes regarding informal probate administration vs. formal probate administration.
  • Specifying your wishes regarding whether a bond shall be required of your fiduciary;

Revocable Trusts

Individuals and couples with large estates, tax planning issues, complex estates or special concerns may benefit by establishing a trust.  A trust is a separate entity that controls whatever assets you retitle and place into the trust.  You (the creator of the trust) are known as the “Trustor.”  Revocable trusts provide you with significant flexibility as you have the ability to appoint a Trustee (who could be yourself) to make decisions regarding income and principal payouts from the trust.

There is more upfront cost involved in setting up a trust as opposed to a will.  However, a properly funded trust can help families to avoid the timely nature and expense of the probate process.  It is essential to note that if you create a trust and do not retitle all of your assets properly (transferring ownership of all assets to the trust itself), you will not be exempt from the probate process.

Other Forms of Asset Transferring

Proactive estate planning may also minimize the probate process, easing the burden on grieving loved ones.  There are additional tools which may assist you in transferring property outside of the probate process including:

  • Establishing joint tenancy on real estate;
  • Creating and executing a Transfer on Death Deed (“TODD”) in which you specify who will receive your real property upon your death;
  • Establishing Payable Upon Death (POD) arrangements on checking accounts, saving accounts and other money market accounts;
  • Listing beneficiaries on 401(k)s, IRAs, other retirement accounts and Life Insurance

You should consult an experienced Minnesota estate planning attorney to review your current situation and explain various options available to you.

Minnesota Estate Planning Lawyer Christine Swanson of Swanson Law Office is pleased to assist you in defining your estate planning objectives, understand the estate planning process and crafting the legal documents necessary effectuate your wishes.