ESTATE PLANNING FAQ
I DON’T HAVE A WILL. IS IT REALLY NECESSARY; WON’T MY PROPERTY BE DISTRIBUTED TO MY FAMILY ANYWAY?
Everyone should have a will.
A will accomplishes many important objectives. If you have minor children, it’s the instrument where you name your children’s guardian. You also can make special gifts through your will; your jewelry, collectibles, firearms, etc. can all be gifted to specific persons through your will, thereby avoiding disputes between heirs after your death. A will is also very important when there are blended families, multiple spouses, and children born out of the marriage. These are just a few reasons why a will is important. Depending on your situation, your property might not pass in the manner you would like upon your death. Call Ms. Molinaro or Ms. Davis at (651) 705-8800 to discuss your specific case and the benefits of having a will.
I’VE BEEN HEARING A LOT ABOUT TRUSTS; DO I NEED ONE OR CAN I JUST HAVE A WILL?
They are completely different instruments and take effect at different times.
A will is a document that directs who will receive your property upon your death and in your will you appoint a personal representative to probate the will and carry out your wishes. A will only covers property that is in only your name at your death. It does not cover property that is jointly owned.
A trust can be created during your lifetime (inter vivos) or upon your death (testamentary). An inter vivos (revocable) trust can be used to begin distributing your property before death and is a legal arrangement where one person holds legal title to the property (the trustee) for another person (the beneficiary). If you own property outside of Minnesota or have minor children, you may want to set up a trust.
At Molinaro Davis Law PLLC, our attorneys sit down with our clients for a complimentary consultation to discuss our clients’ estate planning needs. Ms. Davis and Ms. Molinaro discuss the different options for prospective clients and how to best reach their estate planning objectives.
I DON’T WANT TO PAY ESTATE TAXES. IF I SET UP A TRUST, WILL I AVOID THEM?
There are many misconceptions about trusts. One of those misconceptions is that you will avoid estate taxes if you simply implement a trust. One of the first considerations is whether your estate will even be subject to estate taxes. Currently, the estate tax limits are fairly high and many estates will not be subject to estate taxes. When implementing a trust, many trust agreements seek to avoid estate taxes on the second spouse’s death. If you are single, a revocable trust may not be the correct vehicle to avoid estate taxes. Our attorneys assist clients in determining the best course of action to avoid estate taxes if estate taxes are a consideration. Call Ms. Molinaro at (651) 705-8800 to discuss your estate plan.
MY WIFE AND I HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FOR MANY YEARS. IF I DIE, WILL SHE GET ANYTHING? I’D ALSO LIKE TO DISINHERIT ONE OF MY CHILDREN.
You can disinherit a child but not a spouse.
You cannot disinherit a spouse in Minnesota (unless your spouse agrees in writing). Your surviving spouse will be entitled to an elective share of your estate, which depends on the length of the marriage. However, you can disinherit children in Minnesota, but must have a will or trust in place to do so.