Losing a beloved parent or family member is an emotional time. After such a loss, surviving family members need time to grieve, remember, and heal. They must also deal with practical matters, such as taking care of their loved one's estate. In most cases, this is accomplished without any problems. Although relatively rare, there are occasions when someone contests the validity of the will. If someone has contested your loved one's last will and testament, it's important to speak to an experienced Minnesota probate attorney immediately.
When a person owns a non-qualified deferred annuity and leaves it to a designated beneficiary other than a surviving spouse, the beneficiary will then have several different options to receive the funds. It is important to understand the different options and then to choose wisely for the greatest benefit.
One of the biggest errors baby boomers tend to make is failing to complete their estate plans because they either think the plans are unnecessary or they simply put them off. Failing to complete estate plans can leave families dealing with protracted court processes and dwindling assets due to higher taxes. It is thus important for baby boomers to have not only retirement plans in place, but also estate plans.
While many Minnesota residents may be familiar with the traditional big three estate planning considerations, they may not be as aware of other things that should be taken into account. Historically, estate planning has been conducted with an eye toward taxes, family and charity. With changing laws, however, these are not the only three areas that should be considered when planning an estate.
Many Minnesota residents purchase life insurance as a part of their overall estate plans. Although the purchase of life insurance is generally straightforward, people should be aware of some common pitfalls that may be encountered in designating beneficiaries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.