• Leave a legacy – to your family, friends or charity
• Direct future medical and financial decisions during your lifetime
• Ensure that the people you want to receive your assets actually receive them
• Simplify the process for your heirs
• Name a personal representative (executor), trustee and/or guardian for young children
• Avoid probate proceedings
• Reduce estate and gift taxes
• Ease stress and uncertainty in difficult transition times for yourself and your family
• Avoid unwanted situations that arise from lack of planning
• Protect unmarried partners
– In a Will you can specify who will inherit the assets who own in your own name at the time of your death. It does not cover assets you own jointly with another person or assets that have a beneficiary such as life insurance or retirement funds. You can provide that some assets are held in trust after your death until a stated distribution date, such as for minor children. A properly drafted will can also save estate taxes. In your will, you can name a personal representative (executor), trustee, and a guardian for minor children. Your estate must go through the probate court process before your assets can be distributed. If you don't have a will, the people who will inherit your assets are determined by state law.
A Revocable Trust can help you manage your assets during your lifetime as well as specifying who will inherit it them at your death. Title to your assets is transferred into the trust now. You can be the trustee now and manage your assets as you currently do. However, a successor trustee can take over the management when you can no longer do so, thus providing a seamless transition for managing your assets. The trustee can transfer the assets to your beneficiaries after your death and no probate court procedures are necessary.
In a Power of Attorney, you can appoint an agent to manage your finances during your lifetime if you cannot do so, such as if you become incompetent.
In this document you can appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you if you cannot do so, such as if you are unconscious from an accident or stroke, and you can also specify the type of health care you want or do not want in various medical situations.
For some types of assets, you can specify a beneficiary who will inherit the assets at your death. Examples are life insurance and retirement funds such as a 401(k) or IRA.
Some documents specify one or more persons who will inherit an asset at your death. One example is a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) for real estate which is recorded with the county property records. Another example is a Pay on Death (POD) bank account. This instructs your bank to pay the amount in your account at your death to a particular person. Both of these documents are revocable, do not take effect until your death and do not require a probate court proceeding.
* Children Added on Title to Real Estate: Children On Real Estate Title
* Choosing the Right Type of Entity for Your New Business: Entity for Your New Business
* Debt Collection On Deceased Family Members: Debt Collection On Deceased Family Members
* Estate Planning- Preparation: Estate Planning Being Prepared
* Estate Planning- Guardianships & Conservatorships: Guardianships & Conservatorships
* Estate Planning- Wills, Trusts, & Beneficiary Designation: Types of Estate Planning Documents
* Estate Planning- Probate: Types of Probate Procedures
* Guardianship & Life Support Removal: Guardianship & Life Support Removal
* Deceased Legalities: Closing Minnesota Real Estate Transactions of Deceased Owner
* Real Estate Answers: Avoid Problems When Putting Your Children on the Title to Your Real Estate
* Real Estate Ownership: Types of Real Estate Ownership