We believe that a knowledgeable attorney is of great assistance in properly drafting estate planning documents. Although estate planning software or Internet forms are available, they are no replacement for the advice of an experienced attorney. Estate planning software may not apply to Minnesota Law, even if the software indicates that it does. If you are drafting a will on your own, or using software to help you do so, there may be terms with specific legal meanings and consequences that you do not understand; an attorney can explain these legal terms and consequences to you. If you make errors in these documents, you may not know about them while you are alive; then your heirs and attorneys, at considerable cost and trouble, must deal with these issues after you are gone. We suggest that it is worthwhile having a knowledgeable attorney assist you with these documents so as to avoid those possible kinds of problems.
Among the issues which an attorney might discuss with you are:
Wills and Trusts:
Do I need a will? If I do not have a will (“intestate”) what would happen?
I have a will, but it was made a long time ago, do I need a new one? Have there been any changes in the tax laws or other laws that affect my existing will?
If I move to another state, do I have to change my will?
What is a trust and how is it used?
Should I have a trust? If so, what kind of a trust?
When is a “living” trust appropriate?
I saw a seminar that discussed a particular kind of trust, is that kind of trust for me?
Estate Planning to Provide for Your Family:
What happens if I leave everything to my spouse and my spouse does not survive me?
How do I set up a trust for my children and family members?
How may I control when my children inherit my estate? Do they have to inherit everything if they are 18, or can a portion of the estate be held until they are older?
I am the parent of children under the age of 18, what happens to them if I die?
Why would I want to allow the Court to appoint a guardian to my minor children rather than naming an alternate guardian in my will?
I have minor children, what considerations should I take into account in naming a guardian, and what are the advantages or disadvantages of doing so?
How can my partner and I provide for each other?
My spouse and I both have children from previous marriages. I want to ensure that my spouse is taken care of after I pass away and I also want to leave some of my estate to my children. Is there a way to draft an estate plan that allows me to do so?
What happens when I die?
What is probate and can I avoid probate?
Who is in charge of my estate?
Will my estate need a lawyer?
How much does it cost to settle an estate?
How do I include gifts to charities in my estate plan?
If I want to say who inherits specific personal property, such as jewelry or furniture, should that be in the will?
What is the best way to direct to whom these items should go after I pass away?
Do I have to change my entire will if I wish to change my personal property list?
Choosing a Personal Representative:
What qualities should I look for in deciding who to name as my personal representative?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of naming certain persons or banks as my personal representative?
Do my estate planning documents have an impact upon how my estate will be taxed?
How can I minimize any Federal and Minnesota Estate Taxes?
Health Care Directives:
I have a living will on file at my doctor’s office. Do I need a health care directive too?
Why would I want to name a health care agent if I have a health care directive?
Will my health care directive be effective in another state?
Power of Attorney:
What is a power of attorney?
I have a will, why do I need a power of attorney?
What are the differences, if any, between a “springing power of attorney,” a “durable power of attorney” and the “statutory short form” power of attorney?
Do I lose control of my property if I sign a power of attorney?
Can I revoke a power of attorney?
How can I use a power of attorney to plan for incapacity?