Your estate is all the property that you own. It includes items such as your home, car, bank accounts, IRAS or other retirement money. How your estate will be passed on to others and whether it will be taxed varies greatly depending on what kind of planning advice you act upon. No two estates are alike. Your stage of life, your family situation, your assets, and your interests all affect the estate plan. It is important to have an expert advisor guide you through the various options.
Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives
The best time to decide who will make decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself is when you are healthy. A Power of Attorney designates who can make legal and financial decisions for you during your lifetime, such as paying your bills or selling your home. A Health Care Directive lays out who can make decisions about your health and what types of care you want. The tragedy of Terri Schiavo highlighted that even young people should make sure their wishes are formalized in a legal Health Care Directive.
Wills and Trusts
Nearly everyone needs a Will. If you do not have one, the state will determine who will inherit your probate estate. That means that you will have no say in who gets what or even who will take care of your minor children. One consequence of Wills is that they have to go through probate court. Many of our clients prefer to keep their financial matters out of open court and ask us to create a Revocable Living Trust, which is one of the most effective ways to transfer your estate in an orderly manner and out of the public eye.
Preparing trusts is also one of the legal services we offer. Trusts are usually created to avoid probate, save taxes or to make sure money stays in the right hands. There are a wide variety of estate planning tools, such as:
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
- Supplemental Needs Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
- Charitable Remainder Trusts
- Beneficiary Flexible Trusts
Estate and Trust Administration
When a loved one dies, you usually need someone to guide you through the process of administering the estate or trust. Our team of experienced professionals will lead you every step of the way, ensuring that your loved one's wishes will be fulfilled.
Estate and Gift Tax Strategies
When a person dies, the government gets into the business of taxing the estate by imposing an estate tax. There is both a federal and Minnesota estate tax. The tax, if owed, is payable in cash within nine months from the date of death. The good news is that steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate the tax. Common tools include use of trusts, making gifts, life insurance and charitable bequests. We work with our clients to identify if their estate may be subject to estate taxes and then craft a plan to pass on their estate in the most effective manner, with an eye to reduce or eliminate potential estate taxes. To request a free consultation with Bill to find out how estate taxes may impact your estate, call Cheri at 763-398-5800.
Many people are charitable throughout their lifetime and want to benefit their favorite cause after they die. There are many ways we can help you fulfill your philanthropic goals, including helping you establish any of the following:
- Charitable Demand Trusts
- Charitable Lead Trusts
- Donor Advised Funds at your favorite community foundation
- Private Foundation
To learn more about which tool might help you fulfill your goals, call Bill at 763-398-5800.