Do I need an estate plan?

We’re answering 5 of the most commonly asked questions we get about estate planning.

Why do I need a plan? A plan allows you to select the important aspects of what happens after your death. Without estate planning documents, Minnesota law will control and dictate who gets your property. Important jobs, like the executor or guardian, may go to those who volunteer rather than to the people who you would select to fulfill those jobs.

Do you have enough money to need a plan? While some estate plans do include tax planning, a property-drafted plan can direct all assets you have to your select beneficiaries and can ease administration, even for items of less value. It is also vital with any minor children so that you get the opportunity to designate your chosen guardian.

Can’t I just use an online service? Yes, but we recommend against it. Many of our clients have tried these services in the past and then found out later they didn’t need everything they purchased or, alternately, needed something much different. One of the most important parts of a planning meeting is determining the right tools for you. There may be less expensive or complex options available, depending on your goals and assets. You can also gain valuable education and peace of mind through the opportunity to discuss your specific situation with a professional and get your questions answered.

Can I name the same person for multiple jobs in my plan? It is important to choose people with the skill sets to match the job duties in your documents. The skills to care and nurture for your children and different from those needed to manage your money and pay bills; however, one person may possess both sets of skills. Part of the planning process will include discussing these roles and how to select the people best suited to fill them.

Will I be subject to a “death tax?” Any assets left to your spouse will generally not be subject to estate tax (commonly called “death tax”). Assets that go to an individual other than your spouse, including kids or grandkids, are exempt from an estate tax up to the exemption amount each state allows. Property of Minnesota residents, which are over the exemption amount, will be subject to the Minnesota estate tax. Larger estates may also be subject to the federal estate tax. Proper planning can effectively minimize taxes.

Our estate planning team is here to help you discover which customized plan is best for you. Please contact one of our attorneys for more information.


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