Proper estate planning can save you and your family a lot of trouble in the future. Please contact us if you have any questions or matters relating to probate law.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wills:
Q. What happens if I do not have a will?
A. The law of intestate succession will determine who will inherit your assets. Minnesota has adopted the Uniform Probate Code. (§524 of Minnesota Statutes). Not having a will can cause some unintended consequences.
Q. What are the requirements for a valid will?
A: A signature of the testator must be signed before a notary public and two witnesses. We will provide the notary public and the two witnesses.
Q: Is there a way to pass my real estate to my desired heirs without having to open a court file?
A: Yes. You could use a Transfer on Death Deed. (§ 507.071 of Minnesota Statutes) A transfer on death deed is a deed that you record while you are alive that will pass title to your real estate automatically upon your death upon filing a death certificate. A person filing a transfer on death deed can revoke it at any time. This law was enacted in 2008. Real Estate held in a joint tenancy will automatically pass to the surviving joint tenant.
Q: What is the best way to pass my financial accounts to my desired heirs?
A: In most cases, it is best to make sure you have up-to-date survivor designations on all of your financial accounts. You can hold title in joint tenancy, or you can identify who will own the account upon your death. This will pass title to the asset to the beneficiary outside of probate. You would also identify in your will the same disposition as a back-up.
Q: Can I name a guardian or custodial parent of my children in my will?
A: Yes, but the designation is for informational purposes only. In Minnesota, the surviving biological parent will have automatic custody upon your death unless there are “grave and weighty” reasons why that should not be the case. A person challenging the custody of a surviving biological parent from having custody has the burden of proving that parent unfit. In all cases, the best interests of the children is the legal test that courts will always use in making a custody determination.
Q: Why should I have a power of attorney from signed?
A: It is usually a good idea to have a power of attorney form giving a trusted individual the right to act on your behalf if you are absent, unavailable, or incapacitated, in a manner that prevents you from doing an act yourself. (§523 of Minnesota Statutes). Many times, these documents are kept in a safe place and not delivered to your agent unless it is needed for a specific purpose. A bank or financial institution is required by law to honor a valid power of attorney form.
Q: Why should I have a Health Care Directive Signed?
A: A Health Care Directive is a document that identifies your wishes as to a number of important issues. You can identify the following:
- your goals, values and preferences about health care. The types of medical treatment you would want (or not want).
- How you want your agent or agents to decide.
- Where you want to receive care.
- Instructions about artificial nutrition and hydration.
- Mental health treatments that use electroshock therapy or neuroleptic medications.
- Instructions if you are pregnant.
- Donation of organs, tissues and eyes.
- Funeral arrangements.
- Who you would like as your guardian or conservator if there is a court action.
Please contact us if you have any questions or to schedule your appointment.