Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates

St. Paul Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Choosing a personal representative for a Minnesota estate

When the time comes for your estate to go to probate, someone will need to act on behalf of the estate. This personal representative is commonly also referred to as the executor.

You can designate your personal representative in your will. If you do not, the court will appoint one, usually from among your close family circle. However, just because someone is a close relation does not mean he or she is the best person to oversee the probate process according to your wishes. Understanding what the personal representative will need to do can help you assess whom you can trust to fulfill these duties effectively.

Leaving property to Fido and other mistakes with wills

Wills can be important legal documents that ensure your loved ones carry out your wishes after you die. However, some people make mistakes that lead to confusion or bumps in the probate process. These errors also mean that their wishes do not get carried out sometimes.

So what are these mistakes?

3 steps of probate court

Everybody wants to be sure that their family receives the care they need when they pass away. Though it can be stressful to consider the future and plan for such events, drafting a will or trust is imperative to ensuring the fair distribution and division of your property and sparing your loved ones the task of dividing it. Without a will or trust, this task often results in disputes within the family that go through probate.

Probate is the court system dedicated to handling a person’s belongings and property after he or she dies. If you have a will or trust in place, the court will simply verify the document. If not, the court will typically take the following steps in order to manage your estate.

Prioritize creating an estate plan this year

As you made a list of goals or resolutions for the year, one item you may have forgotten was to complete an estate plan. It is not enough for you to tell you loved ones what you want them to have when you pass on. Without documents in place detailing your wishes, your family members may not receive what you want them to. 

Creating an estate plan may not feel like a positive goal, but in actuality it can be a huge benefit to your family. If you do not want to end up compromising your legacy, you must be willing to do what it takes to secure it. Here are some factors for you to consider as you work on your estate plans

Plan for future estate, not just for retirement needs

Many Minnesota residents approaching retirement have taken great strides in developing a retirement plan. Often, however, they have not taken care to plan their estate to avoid many estate mistakes. According to USA Today, their failure to establish an estate plan could hurt them and their families in the end.

In other words, planning for the flow of money in their golden years and making sure life’s expenses are manageable in those years is on their minds, but not what happens to those remaining financial assets once they die.

Married couples need estate plans too

It is a common misconception amongst many married people in the Saint Paul area that they do not believe they need estate plans. Many of them do not realize the importance of having estate planning documents in place. 

If you are thinking about getting marries or are already married, you should consider taking steps to get your estate in order before you die. If you do not, your spouse and kids may not get their inheritances. Take some time to review the following reasons why estate planning is beneficial for married couples. 

2 major mistakes to avoid with the estate planning process

When it comes to estate planning in St. Paul, what you do not know or do can have a negative impact on you and your loved ones for many years to come. The purpose of making an estate plan is to provide for your family future. If you do not structure those plans carefully, you could end up with some complications that can diminish your estate's value and make to harder for your relatives to receive their inheritances without complications. 

If you do not want the court to determine how to allocate everything you have worked so hard for, you should start making plans to protect your assets. Here are some mistakes to avoid during the estate planning process

A will vs a trust: which one is right for you?

To take the burden off their families, individuals can plan their affairs while they are still alive and well. When it comes to estate planning, most individuals incorporate a will. However, depending upon the situation, a trust may be more beneficial for some individuals.

How do you determine which option is right for you? Both arrangements have specific characteristics. Consider these factors to help you make the best choice.

3 goals you should set for planning your estate

When you are thinking about the future, it can be easy to put off estate planning and dismiss it as something to deal with later. This is the mistake many people make and consequently end up leaving their family to navigate the complexities of probate and property division without any guidance. Planning your estate is not just for your own benefit — it is the best way to provide security for your family.

According to USA Today, 64 percent of Americans do not have a will or trust established. It is imperative that all adults invest in their family’s future by planning their estate, but more importantly, you should set specific goals while doing so. The following are three major ones to consider.

Revocable trusts may help protect assets in Minnesota

Over the years of their lives, most Minnesota residents accumulate property and assets that become important to them. As a result, they often want to protect those assets as best as possible. Some people may take out insurance policies on certain items as a form of protection, and other individuals may utilize their estate plans to protect property from certain scenarios. In the latter case, revocable trusts could come in handy.

Revocable trusts appeal to many people due to the flexible nature of the account. This type of trust can be altered or dissolved entirely if the trust creator, or grantor, chooses to make such changes. The grantor also typically acts as the trustee during the course of his or her lifetime, which means that the individual remains in control of the assets placed in the trust.

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Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates

Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates LLC
2356 University Avenue West, Suite 400 | St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone: 651-968-1457 Toll free: 866-442-3092
Fax: 651-647-9544
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