Despite the soundness of the estate planning strategy of having a will, not everyone will have prepared such a document before he or she dies. This can be for any number of reasons: few of us spend much time thinking about our own demise and its effects on those we leave behind; sometimes death comes unexpectedly and at an early age. Regardless of the reason why, dying without leaving a will to govern how your estate should be allocated creates a challenge that Minnesota law attempts to overcome through its intestacy laws.
There are some issues with estate planning that cannot be addressed in wills. A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, can be used to solve some of these issues, though opinions about their usefulness vary.
When creating a valid will in Minnesota and preparing the division of your estate after your death, choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions that you will make. A good executor will execute your wishes promptly and successfully, minimizing family friction and scandal. This is a rather big responsibility and often an honor, which is why choosing your executor should not be taken lightly.
It’s said that the only thing certain in life are death and taxes. With death comes the unpleasant task of having to handle the estate of the one who died. But the nature of the estate changes too. For example, a decade ago, no one had ever heard the term “digital assets” but those, which consist of social media and Internet passwords, are now often an integral part of the estate. We provided information on this topic when the legislature passed the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.
Estate planning is more than beneficiary designations or the preparation of wills. The decisions you make about the form of ownership when you acquire property can affect how it will pass to your heirs. Sometimes, as with a joint tenancy, the form of ownership could override other provisions you might have made for it in your estate plan. Consulting with a St. Paul attorney about property ownership is a good way to avoid conflicts with your estate plan.
Death and taxes. As the saying goes, they are the only two things that are certain in life. That certainly applied to the late owner of the Minnesota Twins, although the taxes turned out to be a lot less than the IRS wanted.
Visit any estate planning website and you will see a long list of reasons why you should have a will or some form of estate plan. The death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late Whitney Houston, illustrates several of those reasons.