Estate Planning Lawyer Minneapolis, MN
An estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN that families depend on from Johnston | Martineau PLLP understands that estate planning can be a sensitive topic since you are planning for what happens after you pass on. For many people, it is a complex topic, and it is often delayed until later on in life. There is a common misconception that estate planning is reserved only for the wealthy. What many people don’t know is that estate planning is a relevant topic for anyone with cash or assets. The purpose of an estate plan is to have your wishes respected and executed so that your loved ones and assets can be taken care of. A living trust is just one way you can preserve your values and assets after your passing. Whether your estate is big or small, you must write a living trust if you want your legacy protected and passed onto future generations of those you love the most. Rest assured that we have the compassion and experience needed to support you as you create an official living trust.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning focuses on task preparations, which have a strong focus on assessing management. Moreover, this relates to serving in management aspects, as it relates to an individual’s assets. Furthermore, intangible and tangible assets (which will be discussed more later), are also looked at, when it comes to estate planning. This is especially true, in relation to looking at the past good and service, a deceased person. Lastly, when it comes to estate planning, there is also a focus on assets, in relation to that of estate as well. Lastly, what attorneys can do is assess the assets of an individual, as to how they relate to estate planning. This is particularly important, when looking for an estate planning lawyer, Minneapolis, MN.
About Our Law Firm
At Johnston | Martineau PLLP, an estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN families trust has advised many clients who are working on their estate plan. The estate planning process can be tricky. There are a number of approaches to it, but what you decide to include in your estate plan is up to your particular values, interests, and whether or not there are loved ones that you intend to pass your assets along to. Whether you are just starting your first draft or need to update an old and outdated one, we can help ensure all your bases are covered. We can help you continually update your estate plan when necessary. Thinking about the future and how to best manage your estate after your passing is not always simple or clear. Making plans for after death is not really what you would call having a “good time” per se, however, the alternative would be risking your legacy going through the hoops of probate court where the government has more of a say in handling your assets.
If your estate does end up in probate court because you lacked an estate plan, this means more stress and frustration for your loved ones who will already be struggling after your passing. Not having an estate plan established can lead to family conflicts or other third parties attempting to seize a part of your wealth or one or more of your assets. Hiring an estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN that clients can confide in can help you achieve a sense of relief knowing that the distribution of your wealth is prepared for.
Why our Law Firm?
Estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN, puts a strong emphasis on integrity, as well as ensuring that our clients have a strong understanding of all the facets of estate planning. This includes the ins and outs of state planning, any setbacks that would come, if estate planning is not assessed properly. What this helps to do, is not only aid in building trust among the business. However, a strong reputation, also helps in families gaining trust through the company practices. In other words, it is important that the company is successful, through thinking of long term goals, rather than short term goals.
#1 Understand The Cons of Probate
Probate court entails establishing the validity of a written will, distributing assets, settling debts, and more. Most people want to avoid probate if possible, as they prefer not to have the court handle any element of their assets. This is understandable, since the court may handle your estate much differently than what you would prefer. Probate is often costly and frequently results in an immediate devaluing of the estate. This is because, in most circumstances, probate will cost the estate around 5% in expenses. Secondly, probate can postpone dependents or heirs from receiving funds in the estate for several years. To avoid this issue, it is recommended that you have an estate plan so that your specified wishes can be carried out.
#2 Don’t Forget About Personal Items
Our lawyer may suggest that if you have a book collection, family heirlooms, a box of photographs, a journal, or other items that have sentimental value, to not forget about them in your estate plan. We all have belongings that are of particular significance to our lives but may not look the same to another person. Listing these in your estate plan gives you the chance to think about what means the most to you. There may be certain individuals that you would like to pass your possessions to. To make sure your possessions are taken care of, you may want to name people that you think would best appreciate them. This way they are not discarded and actually go to people who will value them as much as you do. The expensive and sentimental belongings and how you want them distributed must be clearly outlined, so there is no confusion.
#3 Figure Out Who You Want to Receive Assets
Most people choose their significant others, children, and other close family members as beneficiaries. As an estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN clients trust may explain, it is common for people to list relatives that mean the most to them as beneficiaries of their assets. But, you can also include friends and charitable organizations if you’d like! This is often overlooked by many people working on their estate plan. If there are certain charities, organizations or causes that are meaningful to you, make sure to make note of them in your plan. Think about how you want to organize your donations to those specified causes. Whether you have certain individuals or causes in mind, make sure to name and list each of them in your estate plan so no one is left off. Think about the people who would love getting something special of yours to remind them of you for years to come, after you have passed away.
#4 Make a List of Tangible and Intangible Assets
If you have an abundance of assets and belongings, then this stage may take some time. You want to write a list of all the assets you own, including tangible and intangible items. For instance, you need to include your vehicles, boats, homes, property, life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, jewelry, and anything else of value to you (whether monetarily or sentimental). This is why it is strongly recommended that you begin the estate planning process early, especially if you have a long list of assets that needs to be listed. For some certain items, it may take additional time to decide how you want them to be taken care of. The reason why it is important, to make a list of tangible and intangible assets, is because it is essential for people to be able to differentiate the two. What this helps to do, is teach people not just what separates the two assets, but also how they can relate to various facets of business as well.
#5 Assign Assets to Your Beneficiaries
Once you have completed the first two steps, then you will move on to combining these lists. Use your list of beneficiaries to assign what assets you want them to have after you have passed away. Keep in mind that if you have certain people listed on your life insurance or other policies that you may need to make changes, so everything matches. An estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN families, rely on can give you information about how to make edits to such policies if needed.
#6 Find Supportive Documentation
It would help if you found paperwork related to your assets, so the person distributing these things for you to beneficiaries doesn’t encounter road bumps. You want your plan to be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and prevent conflicts between different parties, such as family members. Gather documentation such as titles, stock certificates, policies, deeds, etc. You can share these with your lawyer at Johnston | Martineau PLLP, as he or she helps you finalize your living trust.
#7 Appoint a Successor Trustee
When you have a living trust, you need to name yourself as the trustee to continue to manage assets throughout your life. But then you must choose a successor trustee, who shall distribute assets to beneficiaries based on your wishes and pay debts upon your passing. This person should be someone that you trust to handle your affairs responsibly and without motivation for personal benefit.
If you are ready to begin writing your living trust, or must make edits to a current version, then an estate planning lawyer from Johnston | Martineau PLLP can offer the guidance you need, so don’t delay in calling today!
When You Should Seek the Help of An Estate Attorney
You Have Children
Any estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis MN will tell you that if you have minor children, you need to designate a guardian who will raise and care for your children if you die unexpectedly. Your guardians may also receive financial distributions each month that will help with the expense of caring for your children, or they may be in charge of managing your children’s assets while they are minors.
You should also consult with an estate attorney, such as those at Johnston Martineau PLLP, if your children are adopted, natural, foster, godchildren or step-children. The state may only consider your natural children as legal heirs, so if you want distributions to go to other children, you should designate that in a will. In addition, the state will typically provide the same distribution to each legal heir, so if you want different amounts of your estate to go to each child, you need to make this clear in your estate planning documents.
You Own a Business
Your business documentation should determine who succeeds you in the case of your death, but you should also designate this successor as well as who receives your portion of the business. This is especially important if you have partners or your company is publicly traded. You want to be sure that your business passes to the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your choice, not those designated by the state.
You Want To Lower Your Taxes
Your heirs may be responsible for paying taxes on some or all of their inheritance from you. However, you can reduce their taxes by working with an estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis MN. These professionals can give you strategies that will allow your assets to pass directly to your beneficiaries.
Your assets may be subject to both state and federal taxes, so find an estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis MN who can guide you on the amount of money that can pass tax-free. Assets like living or irrevocable trusts can be valuable in tax reduction.
You Want Your Privacy Protected
If you don’t have a well-planned estate, it will go through probate upon your death. At this point, your entire estate, including the names of your beneficiaries, will become part of the public record. If you are like most people, you want to protect both your privacy and that of your heirs. Johnston Martineau PLLP attorneys can guide you in ways to protect this privacy, especially in the case of minor children.
FAQs About Healthcare Directives and Healthcare Powers of Attorney
Why Do I Need a Healthcare Directive?
A healthcare directive is a set of instructions for medical personnel to follow should you be too ill or incapacitated to tell them what you want done in different medical circumstances. Without your directive, doctors will follow the course of treatment they deem appropriate on your behalf. An estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, such as Johnston Martineau PLLP can help you set up a healthcare directive.
Shouldn’t a Doctor Make Medical Decisions For Me?
Not necessarily. With new medical technology invented and new courses of treatment discovered faster than ever before, it’s crucial that you decide the limits of the care you want to receive. Do you want to be put on a ventilator if you can’t breathe on your own? At what point do you want palliative care instead of aggressive treatment? Do you want to be an organ donor? These are questions you will answer in your healthcare directive instead of trusting a doctor you may not know to make those decisions for you. An estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, would advise you to have copies of your healthcare directive on file with your personal physician as well as any hospitals in your area.
Do I Need a Healthcare Power of Attorney if I Have a Healthcare Directive?
You absolutely need a healthcare power of attorney, even if you have a healthcare directive. Your healthcare power of attorney will advocate on your behalf to ensure the treatments you want are carried out. For example, if you are in a serious car accident, you may be rushed to an emergency room for immediate treatment. Doctors may not have time to discover whether you have a healthcare directive. But nurses or patient advocates will likely call an emergency contact if they find your phone or send police to your address to inform somebody of your situation. If that person is your healthcare power of attorney, they can immediately pass along your wishes to the medical team.
What Does a Healthcare Power of Attorney Do?
In short, a healthcare power of attorney sees to it that your medical wishes are carried out if you are unable, for whatever reason, to make those decisions for yourself. This can include decisions on whether or not to perform surgery, try experimental treatments, or remove life-sustaining measures. Since these are life-or-death situations, you will want to choose your healthcare power of attorney carefully and make sure they have an updated copy of your healthcare directive at all times. Johnston Matrineau PLLP may be the right estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, to help you set up your healthcare power of attorney.
What Other Documents Should I Include in My Estate Plan?
A living trust is an invaluable estate planning tool. But it is not the only estate planning tool you’ll need to have in place if you become incapacitated or pass away. Estate planning is a complex process that governs a variety of scenarios. It is essential to work with a skilled estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN clients turn to for insight when constructing a comprehensive estate plan. Common documents included in an estate plan include a last will and testament, powers of attorney, and a living trust. However, there are a number of tools and documents you can include, so a lawyer can go over what will be recommended for your particular plan. They will guide you so that you have everything you want to include in your estate plan, and ensure that it will be executed properly.
Once the team at Johnston | Martineau PLLP, learns about your unique life experience, property, and preferences, we can help you create (or modify) a comprehensive estate plan. With these tools in place, your loved ones won’t need to second guess what your wishes are. Instead, they’ll be guided by clearly articulated, legally enforceable documentation.
“Living” Estate Plan Documentation
It has often been said that estate planning documents are living documents. What does this mean? With very few exceptions, you can alter or modify any of your estate planning documents as your life experience, circumstances, and preferences change. As a result, you can always turn to a lawyer community members trust when needs and preferences change over time. As your life evolves, we can help your estate planning documentation to evolve accordingly.
What documents do you need to have in place at all times?
At a minimum, you’ll want to speak with our team about creating a living trust and will, a durable power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, an advance healthcare directive, and (if you are a parent of minor children or incapacitated adult dependents) guardianship designations. Whereas a will and/or living trust will help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, financial and medical powers of attorney will allow other trusted adults to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
By contrast, an advanced healthcare directive will tell your medical care team your medically-related wishes if you are hurt or ill to such a degree that you cannot articulate them on your own.
Questions To Ask an Estate Planning Lawyer
What Is Your Role in the Estate Plan?
When you are looking to hire an estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, you need to understand the parameters of your attorney’s services. Some attorneys only draw up estate documents such as wills, trusts, and guardianship roles for young children. Other lawyers, however, create legally binding estate documents as well as execute them. For an easier, more efficient process that may also be prone to fewer errors, opt for a lawyer who can both write and execute your estate plan.
Can You Help Create an Inclusive Estate Plan?
If your estate and holdings are more complicated, you might need multiple types of documents to ensure that your assets are handled and distributed according to your wishes. Working with an attorney from a firm such as Johnston Martineau PLLP can make the process of drawing up a complete estate plan easier. Working with a professional can also be more efficient than trying to organize everything yourself. Furthermore, choosing to work with an estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can give you peace of mind that these important documents are prepared correctly.
How Accessible Will You Be To Answer Questions?
Creating an estate plan is a complex process, and you may have numerous questions. You should ask an attorney how quickly you can expect responses to your communications. In addition, ask who else in the office is authorized to discuss your case and knowledgeable enough to answer questions. Personal encounters are one of the most effective ways to get a feel for how an attorney’s office operates and to experience the personalities of those who work there. Some law firms such as Johnston Martineau PLLP offer no-cost consultations.
Will You Send Prepared Documents for Review?
Make sure you will have a chance to review all prepared estate planning documents. Even when working with a knowledgeable attorney, miscommunications can happen. Review everything once prepared to make sure documents reflect your wishes. Additionally, make it clear to your estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, which points are irrevocable and which can be altered.
What Is the Timeline for Completing an Estate Plan?
While individual circumstances will generally determine exact timelines, you should get an idea from your estate planning lawyer of project length. You may want to work with other professionals in financial fields as part of the process, and you need to have an idea of when each stage of the plan will likely be finished so you can organize other consultations.
Legal Assistance Is Available
Every adult needs to create a comprehensive estate plan, as not all estate-related matters may be lawfully enforced simply by having a will and/or living trust in place. If you do not yet have a comprehensive estate plan in place or need to update or otherwise modify your existing estate plan, please schedule a consultation with us at Johnston | Martineau PLLP. None of us knows how long we will have until our estate plans become urgent matters for our loved ones to grapple with.
To better ensure that your wishes are clearly articulated and legally enforceable, please connect with an estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN families trust at our law firm Johnston | Martineau PLLP today.
Tips for Managing Familial Conflict
One of the biggest concerns and one of the most primary reasons for creating an estate plan is mitigating the risk of familial conflict should you become incapacitated or pass away. The harsh reality is that the tragic and unexpected can occur at any moment, and you must be as prepared as possible. Familial conflict can be devastating to relationships within the family; it stands to put your estate at risk when you ultimately pass away. Safeguarding your estate plan should be one of your top priorities, and our Memphis, Tennessee estate planning lawyer can provide you with the guidance you need. The following are tips to consider to help prevent family conflict from occurring when the time comes:
Tip #1: Make Sure to Communicate Your Plans
While you certainly won’t want to share your estate plan with everyone you know, there are key people you should make sure you communicate your plans to. This can help to manage expectations for when the time comes. These conversations can be incredibly challenging and even uncomfortable to have. You may also find that your loved ones are resistant to having it. However, by providing them with a clear outline of how your estate plan is divided, and the decisions you have made can give them the ability to ask questions and gain a clear understanding of the reasons behind your decision making. It may even be beneficial to have one of your adult children be a part of the planning process.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Time and Place
Timing is everything when communicating your estate plans to loved ones. The last thing you should consider is bringing up such a delicate topic at a family event or holiday occasion. Make a plan to discuss your wishes at a time set aside to discuss your estate plan.
Tip #3: Don’t Set Your Children Up for Conflict
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is choosing one child to make decisions over their siblings’ inheritance. This could only lead to conflict amongst siblings, putting them in an incredibly challenging situation.
Tip #4: Regularly Update Your Estate Plan
Updating your estate plan is critical for several reasons. People’s circumstances often change over time, meaning an estate plan is something that you should be sure to update or review at least every 3-5 years or experiencing one of these life changes:
- Birth/Adoption of Children
- Tax Updates
- Change in Assets
- Beneficiary Changes
Our estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN, recommends that you update your estate regularly so that the plan you leave for your family is as clear and as accurate as possible.
Tip #5: Carefully Consider Whether to Disinherit Someone
You may find that there are some people you are looking to disinherit. While you will want to carefully consider whether this is appropriate, when it comes to close family, such as children, they must be aware of your wishes. Disinherited children may challenge your estate plan and are likely to create further conflict within the family. If you choose not to leave someone you love an inheritance because you are concerned that they are not responsible enough, consider speaking with our team about alternative ways you can manage this situation. A living trust may be another viable option.
Tip #6: Consider a Living Trust
A living trust can provide several benefits for estate planning. Creating a living trust allows you to place your assets into a trust while you are still living. You will have the ability to continue controlling the trust and making changes during your lifetime. Once you pass away, the appointed trustee assumes control of the trust. Living trusts outline your wishes and allow you to leave special instructions for how you would like assets distributed to heirs. Living trusts can be more difficult to challenge in court and can reduce conflict down the road.
To learn more about how Johnston | Martineau PLLP, can help you develop your estate plan, call our Memphis, TN estate planning lawyer to get started.
Common Myths About Estate Planning
Estate planning is an important yet confusing process. Many people don’t understand that much about the process and can make costly mistakes. This is why when it comes to estate planning, there should be a plan set in motion, which helps to detail how the estate process will go, the potential costs, the positives and negatives of estate planning and how one side could outweigh the other, etc. With that being said, here are some common estate planning myths you shouldn’t believe, as being myths can lead to misinformation. From there, misinformation, can lead to poor state planning decisions.
Estate planning is only for rich people. This is one of the biggest myths about estate planning. Just because you aren’t a millionaire, doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from having a proper estate plan in place. Estate planning can ensure your loved ones are financially taken care of if you should die suddenly.
Estate planning isn’t necessary for the young. Not enough young people make estate planning a priority. They assume that it can wait until they’re older. However, it’s important to remember that tomorrow is never promised. Life can be unpredictable at times. Even if you’re young and healthy right now, you should still consider creating an estate plan soon.
Once you create an estate plan, that’s it. Setting up an estate plan is a solid step in protecting your family from the unexpected. However, keep in mind that you will likely need to update it multiple times throughout your life. Whenever you experience a major life change, like a divorce or birth of a child, you should have an estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN review your estate plan.
You should divide your assets evenly among your children. If you have multiple children, you might think it’s only fair to give them the same inheritances. However, this isn’t always the best idea. Your children may have very different needs and goals. For example, if one of your children isn’t as financially stable as the rest, you may decide to give him or her a bigger inheritance.
You should always appoint a family member as an executor. Many people choose to appoint a close family member as the executor of their will. However, this might not be in your best interest. If you believe you believe there will be conflict among your family members, it may be better to appoint an impartial third-party, like a corporate trustee, as the executor.
Hiring a lawyer isn’t necessary. Even if you think your estate plan is fairly simple, you should still consult a skilled estate planning lawyer. Wills can include complicated legal jargon and you don’t want to make costly mistakes.
When you die, you want to be sure that your loved ones are taken care of. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case if you haven’t created a plan following your death. Putting some forethought into how your assets will be allocated today, can save your family considerable time and stress in the future. However, assets and estates are complicated, and having sound legal advice can go a long way in helping you meet your goals. Talking with a trusted estate planning lawyer Minneapolis, MN residents recommend can be the difference between a court having to validate your will in court and your loved ones getting what they need. Johnston | Martineau PLLP can guide you through the estate planning process. Call us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorneys.
What is estate planning?
You don’t have to be wealthy to have an estate. An estate consists of everything you own. This can include your house, car, bank accounts, investments, furniture and other personal possessions of value. When you die, all of the things you own get left behind, and if you don’t have a plan then it is up to your family or court to decide what happens with them. This can cost your loved ones a lot of time, money and stress. You can avoid this by planning ahead of time. You can decide who your assets will go to and when they will receive it. A skilled lawyer will be able to help you reduce taxes, avoid unnecessary legal fees, protect your beneficiaries, and circumvent going to court. Estate planning can also help you determine how to transition your business in the event that you become disabled or die, name a guardian for your children’s custody and inheritance, and allow you to support family members who might otherwise be irresponsible with money.
What happens if I don’t have an estate plan?
If you become disabled or die and do not have an estate plan, the state will determine it for you. This means that the court will determine how your assets are allocated according to state law. If you are married with children, your assets may be given to them, but this can quickly become complicated if you have children from a previous marriage or if your children are no longer minors. If you and your spouse die at the same time, then the court will decide the outcomes of guardianship and inheritance for your children (if they are minors). If you become disabled and cannot make decisions for yourself, the court will appoint someone who decides how your assets are used on your behalf.
Can’t I just write my own will?
Yes, you can, but it may not keep you out of court. A will allow you to determine how assets that are in your name will be distributed. However, the assets still have to go through court before they can be allocated to your designated beneficiaries. This can lead to lots of legal fees, court costs and executioner feeds. It also often lengthens the amount of time before your loved ones receive payment. Working with a practiced estate planning lawyer can ensure that you set up an estate plan with the greatest benefit for your loved ones. For an estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, contact Johnston | Martineau PLLP. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you.
As we get older, we get more questions about our future. While it’s true we become wiser, we end up with more people in our care – and we start to wonder about what will happen to us when we’re no longer able to care for ourselves.
Estate planning is important. It helps keep your family sane during a time of serious grief, and it can help prevent legal infighting. When you meet up with an estate planning lawyer, you can create a will or living trust to make sure the people you leave behind will honor your last wishes. However, an estate planning lawyer in Minneapolis, MN can also help with establishing guardianship and powers of attorney.
What is Guardianship?
You might have children, elderly parents, or relatives with disabilities. They need your attention and care, and like the responsible and loving family member that you are, you provide this care without question or complaint. Everyone has people relying on them, but what happens to these people who are counting on you if you’re no longer able to care for them?
If you’re suddenly incapacitated or seriously injured, and aren’t able to provide reliable care for those family members that rely on you, you can have a guardian named in your estate. When you meet up with an estate planning attorney, you can go over your trusted family and friends who you know can provide care for your dependents in the event of an emergency, and you can choose who will be the best fit for the job. If you’re no longer able to care for those children, elderly parents, or disabled relaties, your guardian will take over.
But there’s one important person in this equation you might be forgetting: yourself. How do you make sure you’re cared for if you can’t even care for yourself? Fortunately, when you plan your estate, you can assign power of attorney to someone you trust.
What is Power of Attorney?
When you grant someone power of attorney, you’re granting them permission to act on your behalf. This means if you’re suddenly incapacitated or no longer in control of your own actions – whether through illness or accident – you have a trusted person who can take over and make the big decisions for you. It sounds grim, but if you have a family history of mental illness, Alzheimer’s, or dementia, it’s a necessity. In fact, even if you don’t have this family history, granting someone power of attorney can give you valuable peace of mind.
Why Should I Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer?
An estate planning lawyer is an important resource who can walk you through the required steps if you’re considering guardianship or a durable power of attorney. It takes a long time to fully understand the ropes of estate planning, and the right attorney will be able to provide all the information you need to make sure your family is cared for when you’re no longer able to provide the care they trust.
Don’t hesitate. It’s never too soon to start planning your estate. Contact Johnston Martineau PLLP to get started.