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Estate Planning Archives

A look at 3 of the major estate planning tax exemptions

Minnesota residents may be interested in some of the major ways that estate and gift taxes can be avoided through proper estate planning. This can alleviate leaving a large tax burden on an estate, limiting the amount of wealth left to loved ones after death.

Estate planning lessons from celebrities

Failure to update an estate plan can lead to bitter disputes among heirs, and this was illustrated when the actor Heath Ledger passed away. Ledger died without adding his daughter to his will, which resulted in a costly and public legal battle. Joan Rivers was one celebrity who managed to avoid such pitfalls. The actress updated her will regularly, and the prudent use of trusts kept the details of her estate plan confidential.

Living wills for adults of all ages

Minnesota adults regardless of their age and health should consider making a living will. While many people think of becoming incapacitated as something that will only happen when they are older, an accident or a sudden illness can leave a person of any age unable to express their wishes about their medical treatment.

Wills and estate planning

Estate planning is a crucial component of a wealth protection plan in Minnesota. State laws will dictate the distribution of property in probate court if a will does not exist. Probate administration can be very expensive, and it offers no guarantees that the deceased's wishes will be honored. When creating an estate plan, it is important to avoid a few common mistakes that could prevent the plan from being carried out as intended.

When updating a will may be advisable

A will is often the most important estate planning document for Minnesota residents, and there are times when it may make sense to update one. For instance, when an individual with an existing will gets married, the spouse does not necessarily become the main heir. Instead, state law may determine that the spouse will get half of the estate with parents or children getting the rest. Updating the will may also come in handy when remarrying or divorcing as this could impact who gets what assets under the current will.

Types of trusts

For some Minnesota residents, establishing a trust may be a helpful if not essential part of their estate planning. Trusts fall into two basic categories: testamentary and living. Testamentary trusts, as established in the will itself, takes effect only after the death of the will's owner, known as a trustor. A living trust may be enacted while the trustor is still alive.

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