Minnesota parents may want to lay the groundwork for strong estate planning by talking to their children about their values when they are young. By establishing an early tradition that money is an appropriate subject, they make it easier to discuss finances in the family. They can also discuss their values with their children, which can help ensure that their legacy is carried on through estate planning and other means.
Estate planning can be a sensitive, stressful issue for people and families in Minnesota as well as around the country. Many people are uncomfortable thinking about death or the possibility of a debilitating accident or illness. They are even more uncomfortable discussing these things with family members.
Some couples in Minnesota and other states have decided not to have children because of insecurities regarding their parenting skills, concerns about their finances, worries regarding climate change and instability, and a wide variety of other reasons. Couples who decide to be child-free experience challenges related to estate planning that are different than couples who have children.
Many people in Minnesota might put off estate planning because the topic is not an easy one to consider. However, it may be especially important for people who have a special bond with a pet to have up-to-date estate plans. In the event that a pet owner passes away before a pet, an estate plan could help ensure their dog, cat or other animal companion is taken care of.
Minnesota residents may rightfully assume that a living will is an essential part of an estate plan. However, they should also strongly consider including a living trust as well. Despite the similarity in their names, living wills and living trusts are completely different legal devices.
In Brainerd, Minnesota, people who invest in IRAs often neglect to name primary beneficiaries when they open their accounts. People think they will name their beneficiaries at a later date but then forget to update the information. It is always a good idea to name beneficiaries on a retirement account to prevent holdings from going into an estate. Failing to update an IRA is another mistake. For instance, a person may have named a beneficiary several years ago but neglect to update the information after the beneficiary passes away.
Some Minnesota residents may not find out until a loved one's death that they have been named as the executor under the testator's will, while others learn this well ahead of time. An executor has a number of responsibilities that include paying creditors, filing tax returns and paying what is owed, locating assets and distributing them to beneficiaries. If there are debts, it might be necessary to sell some assets to pay them off. The executor also has a fiduciary duty to manage the estate effectively. The tasks can seem overwhelming, but an executor can seek assistance from professionals, such as a financial adviser and an attorney, if needed.
Minnesota parents may want to consider expanding their estate planning instructions if their children are minors. Wills offer parents the opportunity to appoint guardians for their kids. However, this still leaves a gap between what happens after the parents' deaths and when the legal guardian takes over.
The increase in the estate tax exemption to $11.18 million can be a good thing for Minnesota residents and others. However, there are ways for an individual to jeopardize his or her plan for what happens to assets after passing away. For instance, passing away intestate could mean that heirs have to spend time and money proving that they are owed a portion of an inheritance.
Minnesota residents should take time to review their estate plans as there are many things that can render all or parts of them ineffective. If the documents have not been reviewed since they were created or it has been some years since they were assessed by an attorney, it is highly likely that they have to be updated.