If you, unlike many of the people I talk with, have a will, congratulations on doing some estate planning for the sake of your family. If you have ever lived through a grieving process while attempting to settle a loved one’s affairs, you know how draining, time-consuming, and hard it can be. For that very reason, many people try to plan ahead of time so that their family does not have to work through the Minnesota Probate Court system.
There are a variety of ways you can settle your affairs without proceeding through the probate court system. Pay On Death and Transfer on Death designations on financial accounts can help to transition assets without the need for probate or even a will. A variety of trusts may be used for tax planning, affair management, and estate planning purposes. And if you own property, you might execute a Transfer On Death Deed (TODD) that will allow the property to pass outside of probate. Depending upon the size of your estate and how you transition assets, your heirs may be able to avoid probate altogether.
Of course, every situation is unique and will require a unique solution. The type of estate plan you put into place will be affected by many factors, including the size of your estate, the number and ages of your beneficiaries, the amount of tax to which your estate may be subject, what you’d like to do with your assets during your lifetime, how you’d like your assets divided, and a number of other factors.
The important message, though, is to start the process. Make an appointment with an estate planning attorney and discuss your options. Your family will certainly be thankful for your foresight.
Feel free to call or email my office for more information.