Securing Your Legacy Through Wills And Trusts
After you’re gone, your legacy will be dependent on the quality of your will or trust. We have seen too many families suffer financially after the loss of a loved one because they failed to create an estate plan. Creating a will or trust can protect your assets and allow you to specify how your property is distributed after you die. Estate planning documents can often be the difference between successfully passing on a business or farm to the next generation and forcing your heirs to sell in order to settle the estate. Estate plans are important for everyone even if they don’t have a large estate. They can be used to address guardianship of minor children, avoid probate, transfer real estate and even address final wishes and health care.
At Franz Hultgren Evenson, P.A., we understand the complexities of wills and trusts and know when it makes sense to use different planning tools. Our attorneys work closely with you to get a thorough understanding of your goals and develop an individual plan that addresses all your wishes.
Choosing An Estate Transfer Plan
The main factors in deciding whether to choose a will, a trust or a combination of the two, is the size and complexity of your estate and how important privacy is to you. A will is less expensive than a trust, but in Minnesota, all wills go through probate. The probate process makes all of your estate details public information, incurs fees and takes from six months to several years depending on whether parts of the will are disputed or if finding heirs proves difficult.
One of the key advantages of a trust is that it is not subject to probate, meaning your assets stay out of the public eye and the court has no say in how your property is distributed. Unlike a will where all assets are distributed at the end of the probate process, assets can be set for distribution in the future, such as when a child turns 18. A trust can also be set up as a fund that pays dividends over time rather than a one-time payment.
Health Care Directives And Living Trusts
Living wills — commonly called health care directives — may sound similar to living trusts, but both serve a distinct purpose. A health care directive is an outline of the type of medical procedures you approve for yourself in the event that you become unable to communicate. It usually addresses the types of life-sustaining procedures (such as a do not resuscitate order) you approve. Health care directives have nothing to do with assets. Health care directives, provide direction regarding your person.
A living trust is a legal document that creates an entity to hold and manage your assets while you are living. Most people choose to create living trusts because of the control it grants over their assets. It protects assets from creditors, avoids probate and provides all the other benefits of a standard or irrevocable trust. Living trusts can be expensive and difficult to set up and are typically recommended for people with complex estates.
Contact The Estate Planning Attorneys At Franz Hultgren Evenson, P.A.
If you are ready to start planning your estate, call 320-200-1267 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.