FACILITATING ESTATE PLANS THROUGH PROBATE OR TRUST
“Estate administration” is a broad category that can take on many different forms and, in some cases if a trust exists, be implemented even before death. Hiring an attorney to assist in administering or sorting out an estate is sometimes necessary for various reasons including when the personal representative, trustee, or other fiduciary needs assistance. Dealing with the details of a loved one’s estate can simply be overwhelming and have legal and financial implications. Find out how our attorneys and law firm can assist ranging from consultative to facilitation or management of assets and liabilities.
TESTATE & INTESTATE
If you have executed a valid will before your death, then your estate is testate. If not, then your estate is considered intestate and will need to be facilitated through the probate process.
In some cases, determining if a will is in place or if the will is valid is necessary to establish whether the estate is testate or intestate. Our attorneys can help make these determinations so that survivors can move forward in handling loved one’s affairs.
HEIRS & BENEFICIARIES
If you have a will then you have identified beneficiaries of your estate. If you do not have a will when you die, you have heirs or potential heirs to your estate which will need to be determined through the probate process.
In Minnesota, a party can apply for informal probate which is unsupervised by the court. Otherwise, the estate will be filed as a formal probate proceeding. There are numerous factors, both legal and situational, that need to be considered in making the determination of what type of probate action is best.
Administering a trust can involve many aspects from identifying, inventorying, and valuing assets to paying debts and liabilities. Clearly not a simple task nor one that should be taken lightly due to the fiduciary responsibility. An estate attorney can guide the trustee or facilitate the administration of a trust.
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OR EXECUTOR
Many people don’t understand the responsibility of being named as the “personal representative” or “executor” in someone’s will and discover the complexity after the person dies. Getting the advice of an estate law attorney to understand the role and responsibility – and maybe assistance in executing the estate – is often necessary.
TRUSTEE AND OTHER FIDUCIARIES
Selecting a trustee and/or other fiduciaries is an important decision that should be met with great considerations. Not only for the reason that the person(s) you select should have the basic skill set to fulfill the role, but also because each role has inherent legal ramifications for both the estate and the designated person – not to mention a direct impact on the beneficiaries of your estate.
Talking through the decision with an estate attorney can help affirm your decisions and give you important information to provide to the person(s) selected.
CONTESTING OR CHALLENGING A WILL
There are several reasons that someone may try to contest or challenge a will: multiple wills, validity of witnesses, provisions of the will, fraud, forgery, capacity, or undue influence are some of the reasons. Consult with an attorney to determine if your challenge has merit and to learn about the process in the even that you decide to move forward.
Tax laws, including estate tax laws, change continually. Our attorneys can provide resources for tax consultation or preparation. Additionally, our attorneys can work with your tax preparer or financial advisor to coordinate plans and possible tax implications.
The first step is to speak with one of our attorneys who will gather some basic information about your unique situation and then explain the various options based on the outcomes you are seeking. They will be able to explain the process, timeline, and cost associated with establishing the plan the fits for you.