Trusts & Estates
Planning for your departure can be a daunting task. It can rank right next to doing your taxes or visiting the dentist in terms of tasks to avoid. Just as difficult is how to manage the estate of a loved-one who has recently passed away and navigating potential disputes between heirs and other beneficiaries.
Our office has significant experience crafting comprehensive estate plans and well as managing the administration of estates and resolving estate disputes.
Some estates are simple and straight forward. Others can require intensive review of tax consequences and management of assets. We have the skills and experience to assist you and your family through this process.
The following are important considerations in planning your estate, administering the estate of another, and resolving estate disputes:
- Specific formalities are required for a last will and testament to be valid. Minnesota does not allow for “holographic wills.” Holographic wills are those done by an individual with the intent to control their estate upon death which are not done according to the requirements in the statute.
- If you do not have a valid will or trust, the law determines who will receive your property according to a specific formula. If you want to specify who will receive your property after you are gone, it is critical that you work with an attorney to ensure the legal documents you need are in place.
- Probate is the name for the court process in which a deceased person’s will is proven to be valid. During probate, all creditor claims against a person’s remaining property are identified and paid, and the remaining property is distributed to the individuals identified in the will. Many people wish to avoid the probate process because it takes time, results in costs, and is burdensome for their loved ones.
- There are many things you can do to avoid the probate of your estate, such as the allocation of real property through a transfer on death deed and use of payable on death designations on your financial accounts. We work closely with our clients in developing a comprehensive estate plan to ensure convenience and ease of administration for your loved ones after you are gone.
- Planning for children with special needs is extremely important. If your child is the recipient of Medical Assistance, much of your estate could go to the government, without being available to your child. A supplemental needs trust and other options for your child may provide for the needs of your child without immediate recapture by the government.
- Retaining an attorney to ensure fair administration of an estate does not signal you are seeking conflict with your family. To the contrary, retaining an attorney to assist in the administration of an estate or trust can help you and your family avoid unnecessary conflict and division. Most often, conflict arises when families do not have all the information they need about the law and the process of managing the estate. We pride ourselves on administering estates in a transparent and responsive manner.
- There is substantial case law governing the administration of trusts and estates. Our office has significant experience litigating trust and estate disputes, including estates containing significant real property and assets.