Estate Planning Lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota
A St. Paul, MN estate planning lawyer would advise that individuals who own an estate should make early preparations for how they want their wealth and assets to be managed. If you have an income and multiple possessions, then you have an estate. Estate planning is a key part of financial planning that many people choose not to develop. To ensure your wealth and assets are handled according to your wishes, it’s important that you create an estate plan while you are healthy enough to communicate your needs related to topics like asset division and future healthcare treatments. Discuss your plans with an attorney who has years of legal experience, such as one at Johnston Martineau, PLLP.
Do I Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
An estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota, can help you prepare for catastrophe. They can also help you look after your family long after you’ve passed – and they can help you avoid estate tax, too.
So, short answer: Yes, you definitely need an estate planning lawyer. For a more in-depth look at what an estate planning lawyer can do for you, and why you should definitely get in touch with one today, read on.
An Estate without a Will: The Perfect Nightmare
Over time, everyone builds up an estate: All the assets (and debts) that you’ve collected over the course of your lifetime. You may not think it’s much, but think about everything you’ve worked towards, and everything you own. All the assets you’ve built up for yourself, right down to the clothes on your back, will be up for grabs once you die.
It’s not the most cheery way of looking at the sum of your accomplishments, but leaving behind a considerable estate for your loved ones is a good way to take care of them well after you’ve died – assuming there’s no crushing debt included in the estate, of course. So how do you make sure your family gets what’s included in your estate?
A will names an executor to handle probate (the process by which all assets are found, classified, and divided amongst family members). If there’s no will, the state will name an executor from the family of the deceased. This may seem satisfactory to you: Your spouse or oldest child will be able to handle everything, right?
Unfortunately, it’s possible to challenge the state’s choice of executor. You might be happy with your family, but was there any bad blood between you and your ex-spouse? What about long-lost siblings or family members you’ve tried to cut out of your life?
It’s a cliché we’ve all seen before: Strangers coming out of the woodwork to claim a slice of your money, all under the guise of being “family”. When you die, you don’t want that to happen to everything you’ve worked hard to build for your loved ones. Fortunately, an estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, MN, can help keep your estate in the right hands.
Contact Johnston Martineau, PLLP, Today
Your belongings can be distributed amongst your loved ones, but only if you’ve left proper instructions. If you haven’t left a will behind, you could be setting your family up for some unnecessary drama, which can make their grieving process all the more difficult.
The right estate planning lawyer can ensure a smooth transition for everyone you care about after you’ve died. Probate is never a straightforward process, but they can help lay the proper guidelines to ensure your family is able to grieve properly, rather than argue and fight amongst themselves. When you reach out to Johnston Martineau, PLLP, you are taking the first step towards a comprehensive will, and a well-planned estate that leaves nothing to chance after your death.
Get in touch with Johnston Martineau, PLLP today, and see how an estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, MN can help your tomorrow.
Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning is a long, and sometimes difficult process. It forces individuals that may not have any kind of financial training to deal with fiscal matters that occur while they are living, and after they die. This is an extremely important process, as it ensures your assets are managed and that the next generation of your family will receive their inheritance without incident or disruption.
Any lawyer can make a will as long as it is a straightforward situation, such as naming a beneficiary of your 401(k), but when you have more than one heir and more than one thing to give away, you need a specialized lawyer.
Before choosing just any lawyer, you should ask them questions to ensure they are right for your needs.
You should always ask your lawyer how long they have been practicing. You want someone who is experienced, because they will have seen a variety of documents and forms that you may not even be aware exist. There’s a lot of things that can happen after a client’s death, and you may find yourself with those situations looming ahead, so you’ll want a lawyer that’s dealt with everything under the sun. This does not mean you shouldn’t give a less experienced lawyer a chance, but only do so if you feel comfortable doing so.
You should also ask if your lawyer primarily focuses on estate planning. You usually want them to answer yes to this question, or if they have other specialties they probably tie into estate planning. This is because a lawyer who focuses on specialties involving estate planning is likely to be on the up-and-up with legal changes, and will have knowledge of legal statutes and can carefully word your documents to be effective.
Always ask your lawyer if they execute the plan. Some do, some do not. You may find yourself wanting a lawyer that will be with you from beginning to end, as morbid as that sounds. A lawyer that helped you draft and prepare everything is going to be the best person possible to execute everything and ensure it runs smoothly.
Ask whether your lawyer conducts periodic reviews. This is basically reviewing your affairs every year to ensure that the documents that were drafted previously still stand. They can then make additions or edits to the documents if there are things not included in the original forms.
You should always ask your lawyer how they charge, to ensure it fits your budget. Some lawyers charge flat fees, others do hourly fees, and sometimes both types of fees are charged depending on the services required. You want to make sure you won’t have any issue paying your lawyer to help you.
A revocable living trust can help your estate avoid the probate process, which is filing with the court, but this is not the best move for everyone because these trusts do not avoid inheritance, estate or income taxes. Some lawyers recommend these structures when they’re not useful to the client, so ask your lawyer and talk about this option and whether it is right for you.
Estate Planning Lawyer in St. Paul, MN
The legal team at Johnston Martineau, PLLP has served numerous clients, working on a wide range of specialties. They believe in making sure that every client’s voice is heard and that their needs are met. Every person deserves to work with a lawyer who will be fully available and transparent with them throughout the case. Learn how you can benefit from quality legal services by scheduling a consultation.
Who Needs an Estate Plan?
Estate planning refers to the development or arrangement of legal documentation that includes important information about how an individual’s total net worth is handled, especially at the time of their passing. An estate plan is not just about ensuring your values are understood, but it is also about protecting your loved ones.
There are a number of determining factors that may be at play to see if you would benefit from an estate plan. If you have specific directions for how your possessions should be passed down to your family, then it may be wise to draft an estate plan. A St. Paul, Minnesota estate planning lawyer would recommend that you consider the following if you are not sure whether an estate plan is advantageous for you:
Family planning. Are you and your partner planning to have children? If so, having an estate plan would allow you to name guardians, establish wills, and other actions to ensure that your children are provided for.
Estate value. Individuals who have an estate of considerable size may opt to create an estate plan because of the amount of assets that need to be managed. Laws are constantly being updated, so depending on the value of your estate, you may benefit from a comprehensive estate plan to better manage your asset division.
Preparation for your needs. Estate plans are useful for providing detailed instructions regarding healthcare decisions to be made later in your life. This includes documents like a Power of Attorney that specifies who can determine the type of medical treatments you want performed on you should you become incapacitated.
Charitable giving. Are there specific organizations or charitable causes you want to donate to? You can communicate your philanthropic preferences in an estate plan.
Different Kinds of Estate Plans
There are a variety of different plans out there that you may consider for your own personal estate plan. Some of the differing types of items in an estate plan could include things like a last will, living will, Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, burial plans, as well as designation of guardians. Everyone’s estate plans may differ from individual to individual. An estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota from Johnston Martineau PLLP can be of assistance. There are different powers and actions that each estate item holds, so it’s important to understand the nuances of these different terms.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of Attorney are something that can make life much easier for the affected individual and their families in a few different circumstances. Some Powers of Attorney designate different actions during different circumstances. A regular Power of Attorney allows a designated individual like a family member or close friend to decide actions to be taken place for a person while they are still of good mind, but in need of some help. These actions could include some financial decisions, gifting, taxes, or deciding crucial medical decisions on that person’s behalf.
A Durable Power of Attorney differs from a regular Power of Attorney in that the Durable Power of Attorney is still held by the designated individual to make decisions if the person has become incapacitated, like in a coma. With this Durable Power of Attorney, the person has the options to allow the person they designate to make those important financial or medical decisions on their behalf if they have become incapacitated.
What Kind of Wills are There?
A couple different wills exist that do different things for individuals and their estates. A will is something that is set up to take effect when someone has died. This could be for purposes of estate gifts or other actions to be taken upon the death of the individual. A living will is something that differs from a regular will. This is because the living will works while the person is still alive. It allows people to make decisions on behalf of the person when they no longer can make decisions for themselves. An example of this would be if that person went into a coma. The family could then decide which procedures or actions could be administered to keep that person alive. The living will would have been set up before this type of unfortunate event happened. This means the person will make those decisions for items like when to use and stop using life support or other means.
How Can Someone Get Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney can be set up with an estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, MN. Lawyers from Johnston Martineau PLLP have years of experience helping clients set up these documents. There are various state laws that have to be navigated and discussed in order for the Powers of Attorney of your choice to be set up. It’s always good to keep in mind what you and the family will want to have happen when you are in need of extra help.
Schedule a Free Consultation
There are numerous benefits to estate planning that can resolve many of your financial concerns. Talk to an estate planning lawyer trusted by St. Paul, MN residents such as one from Johnston Martineau, PLLP to discuss your options.
Common Myths About Estate Planning
While most people have a basic idea about what estate planning is, not everyone truly understands the specifics. In fact, there are many myths about the process. Here are some common misconceptions about estate planning that you shouldn’t believe.
- Estate plans are only necessary for the very wealthy. Many people are reluctant to establish an estate plan because they don’t think they have enough wealth. However, even if you have a modest income and assets, it’s still a good idea to create an estate plan. After all, you want the right people to receive your house, family heirlooms and other assets after you’re gone. If you don’t have a proper plan in place, there’s no guarantee your property will go to the people you want.
- Young people can wait until they’re older to create estate plans. One of the most common myths about estate planning that an estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, MN hears is that young people don’t need them. That’s just not true. Even if you’re young and healthy, life isn’t always predictable. If you should die unexpectedly, you don’t know if your assets will go to the right people. If you create an estate plan sooner than later, you can have peace of mind.
- Estate planning is strictly about property. Another common misconception about estate planning is that it’s all about property. However, it’s so much more than that. If you have children, an estate plan allows you to designate a guardian to take care of your kids if you should die unexpectedly. In an estate plan, you can also have a living will, which lets you pick a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to do so.
- You can just create an estate plan at home. Although there are many DIY estate plan kits available, you should think twice before using one. Estate plans involve complex language and the laws are constantly changing. If you’re not familiar with the law and make one mistake, your plan will be invalid. That’s why it’s worth it to work with a skilled estate planning lawyer in St. Paul, MN.
- It’s best to give your kids equal inheritances. Many parents still believe that they should give their kids the same inheritances to be fair. However, your kids likely have different needs and goals. If one child, for example, struggles financially more than the others, it may be wise to give him or her a larger inheritance.