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estate planning and probate Archives

How trusts can help nontraditional families in estate planning

Fewer than half of all families follow the traditional structure of a father, and mother and their children, but estate planning documents often do not reflect this shift. Families in Minnesota may need to make changes to traditional estate planning documents to suit their own situations.

Acting as an executor for family

When choosing who should be the executor of one's estate, many people trust family with this task. However, handling an estate once a loved one has passed away can be more complex than grantors and executors realize. Minnesota residents might like some more information about dealing with an estate.

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.

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