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estate planning and probate Archives

Why spendthrift trusts can be powerful estate planning tools

The use of a spendthrift trust could help ensure that families in Minnesota and elsewhere don't lose assets because of creditor claims. They can also prevent a beneficiary from squandering money or assets given to him or her by a parent or grandparent. A trustee is given authority to make distributions based on that person or entity's interpretation of the trust's language. Furthermore, the beneficiary would not be able to touch the principal inside of the trust.

Estate planning and blended families

People in Minnesota with blended families should make sure that their estate plans are regularly reviewed and updated, especially after a major life event such as the birth of children, marriage or divorce. If they fail to update their trusts, wills, insurance policies and other documents, it can result in their assets going to a party other than whom an individual wants it to. For example, instead of the assets being transferred into the ownership of the current spouse, they may be passed to an ex-spouse.

Beneficiary designations, IRAs and estate planning

Choosing the right beneficiary for an IRA is an important decision to make for people in Minnesota. Individuals who have no family may want to name a charity as beneficiary. Many people choose their spouses. A spouse who inherits an IRA has the same rights as the original owner, but no other beneficiary will. Other beneficiaries must begin taking distributions, which may have tax implications.

Estate planning is important with or without kids

Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition for Minnesota residents. There are a number of factors that make the process unique for each individual, and one of them is whether or not the person has children. In cases where a person is making an estate plan and has children, he or she will commonly make a number of bequests to the children and in some cases will name one of the kids as executor of the will. In cases where the person does not have children, the decisions might be more difficult, but the estate planning process is just as important.

Renowned artist's death puts spotlight on estate planning

While many people in Minnesota may be fans of Stan Lee's comic book art and creative work, they may not want to emulate his estate planning choices. The 95-year-old man passed away in November 2018, survived by his 68-year-old daughter. In 2017, his wife of 70 years passed away, and earlier in the year, he reported that $1.4 million was missing from his savings. Lee has also admitted that he had untrustworthy financial planners early in his career.

Following up to implement an estate plan

Many people in Minnesota work hard to draw up their estate plans. They think long about the way they want to divide their assets and work with lawyers to draft, complete and execute the necessary documents. Still, even after signing off on wills, trusts and powers of attorney, there are some important follow-up steps that estate owners can take to make sure their plans are protected.

Estate planning for young Minnesota residents

Estate planning is rarely a high priority for young people in Minnesota and around the country, and studies reveal that three in four American millennials have not drafted a last will and testament. This can be a delicate subject even for those who expect to live for several more decades, but financial experts say that there are good reasons for even young adults to put at least a rudimentary estate plan into place.

Parents can plan for their children's future

There are a number of ways that Minnesota parents can use estate planning documents to make sure their children are cared for in the future. In fact, estate planning is perhaps most critical for people who are also parents. By creating key documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney, people can direct how their assets will be distributed, especially in the interests of caring for their children. Trusts in particular can help people pass on wealth to minor children and continue to exercise some level of control over how the funds are used.

Avoiding potential problems with estate plan surrogates

There is a potential "time bomb" hidden in some estate plans in Minnesota. Specifically, a possible source of unexpected problems is the individual named to act on behalf of the person making the estate plan. Actions taken by one or more parties named to oversee an estate could trigger family conflicts or affect the financial security of future generations. Some issues might be avoided or minimized when more thought is given to selecting estate plan surrogates.

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