Why Estate Planning Is Important
May 3, 2023
According to caring.com, only 4 out of 10 Americans have a will or any type of estate planning in place. Passing away without a will can leave many legal challenges and most importantly, it can affect your loved ones. It is vital to take the necessary steps to protect your loved ones and your assets when you pass.
At The Law Office of Robert J. Everhart, PLC, I provide comprehensive legal assistance to clients in estate planning matters. Also, I have the resources and experience to thoroughly walk you through the entire process. I proudly serve Blaine, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, and Sherburne County, Minnesota.
Why Estate Planning Is Important in Minnesota
The benefits of an estate plan far outweighs any possible complications. The following reasons explain why estate planning is a major life decision:
Protects Your Family and Other Beneficiaries. Estate planning allows you to ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. By having a will or trust in place, you can designate who will receive your property, money, and other assets. This consideration can help avoid disputes among family members and ensure your loved ones are cared for after you’re gone.
Protects Your Assets. Estate planning can also help protect your assets from creditors and other legal claims. For example, if you have a business or property that could be at risk in a lawsuit, a properly structured estate plan can help protect those assets from being seized.
Allows You to Choose Who Makes Decisions for You. In addition to planning for the distribution of your assets, estate planning also allows you to choose who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. These arrangements can include naming someone to make medical decisions for you, manage your finances, and handle other important matters on your behalf.
As you can see, estate planning is an important way to protect your family and assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away. You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you develop an estate plan that meets your specific needs and goals.
What Happens When Someone Dies Without an Estate Plan in Minnesota?
When someone dies without an estate plan, their assets are distributed according to the laws of intestacy in their state. Here is what happens in Minnesota:
The Probate Process
When someone dies without an estate plan (intestate), their estate will go through probate. Probate is the legal process by which the court oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. In Minnesota, probate proceedings are generally handled by the district court in the county where the deceased person lived.
During probate, the court will appoint a personal representative (an executor) to manage the estate. The personal representative will identify and inventory the deceased person’s assets, pay any outstanding debts or taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to the deceased person’s heirs.
The probate process can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining for the deceased person’s family.
Minnesota Intestate Succession Rules
When someone dies intestate, Minnesota’s intestate succession laws will determine who receives the deceased person’s assets. Here is a brief overview:
If the deceased person was married with no children, the surviving spouse would inherit the entire estate.
If the deceased person was married with children, the surviving spouse will inherit the first $225,000 of the estate, plus half of the remaining assets. The deceased person’s children will inherit the other half.
If the deceased person was unmarried with children, the deceased person’s children will inherit the entire estate.
If the deceased person was unmarried with no children, the deceased person’s parents will inherit the entire estate. If the parents are deceased, the deceased person’s siblings will inherit the estate.
If the deceased person had no surviving family members, their assets would go to the state of Minnesota.
These rules underscore why having an estate plan is so important. It lets you control how your assets are distributed after you pass away.
Who Should You Have an Estate Plan?
It is important for everyone, regardless of age or financial status, to have an estate plan in place. Here’s why:
No one knows what the future holds, and unexpected events can happen anytime. So, it’s never too soon to start planning.
If you have children, having an estate plan is especially important. Without an estate plan, the court will decide who will become the guardian of your children if both parents pass away.
An estate plan can help your family avoid the probate process, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
An estate plan can help minimize the taxes your beneficiaries will have to pay.
Don’t wait for an unforeseen event. Talk to a professional and experienced estate planning attorney who can help you proactively deal with any issues before they become a problem.
Detailed and Dedicated Legal Guidance
There’s no better day than today to start planning. At The Law Office of Robert J. Everhart, PLC, I will use my knowledge and experience to craft an estate plan that fits your best interests. Reach out to my firm today for dependable legal guidance. I proudly serve clients in Blaine, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, and Sherburne County, Minnesota.