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I am often asked whether a person needs a trust. The short answer is that most people do not need a trust, but there are certain situations where a trust is a good idea. In other words, you probably do not need a trust unless there is a good reason for you to have a trust.

A few definitions are in order. There are two kinds of trusts: a living trust, which is created during the lifetime of the settlor (the person who creates the trust) through a separate trust document and a testamentary or after-death trust, which is created through the testator's Will.

After the trust is created, the settlor funds the trust by transferring assets and property from the settlor to the trust.  The person who manages the trust is called the trustee. The trustee is responsible for administering the property in the trust in accordance with the settlor's wishes. A living trust can be revocable or irrevocable. In other words, the settlor can revoke or cancel the trust during the settlor's lifetime. If the settlor revokes the trust, the property in the trust goes back to the settlor.

That said, a trust is not an appropriate estate planning vehicle for most people. Unless you have excessive wealth, unique property (I am thinking of Prince's music – both released and unreleased), or a special situation, I trust is probably not appropriate for you and will needlessly complicate your estate plan. However, a trust may be appropriate if you have minor children, have minor or adult children with diminished capacity who cannot handle their own financial affairs, have a lot of property that you want to give to charity, need to reduce your taxable estate, or want to fund your estate with life insurance.

There are other reasons to have a trust, and the best way to determine if a trust is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. However, for most people, an estate plan consisting of a will, a health care directive, and a power of attorney is more appropriate than a trust.

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.













 
 
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I am often asked whether a person needs to have a Will or estate plan. The answer is yes, probably. If you are single, have never been married, are not in a relationship, do not have children (either biological or adopted), do not have life insurance or another form of insurance that pays a cash benefit upon your death, rent as opposed to own your home, do not own any significant personal property (such as a motor vehicle), and are okay with the state determining what happens to your property after you die, then you might be okay not having an estate plan. In other words, and estate plan is right for most persons, and most people need an estate plan.

I think that everybody should have an estate plan consisting of a Will, a health care directive, and a power of attorney. The Will controls what happens to your property after your death; the health care directive appoints someone who you know and trust to be your healthcare agent in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions related to your medical care and treatment by yourself; and the power of attorney appoint someone you know and trust to make decisions and carry on your financial affairs in the event that you are unable to do so on your own.

There are two primary reasons why you should have an estate plan. First, you want the control that comes from having a written plan detailing how you want your property distributed at the time of your death. I believe that you will feel an immense feeling of satisfaction and relief once you have a written plan in place that says what you want to have happen to your personal property when you die. I also think that you will feel a profound sense of relief when you have a health care directive and power of attorney that gives somebody you trust the authority to make medical and financial decisions, respectively, on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

The purpose of having an estate plan is not necessarily to benefit you, but to make life easier for those who survive you. Instead of having your loved ones sit around the hospital or funeral home wondering how you would like this situation – probably, your last illness or death – handled, what you would have done, and what you would like to have done, you can spell out exactly what you want to have happen in your estate plan and provide guidance and instruction for your survivors. Providing that guidance and instruction to your survivors is the real purpose and value of having an estate plan.

I've written about this before, but I think that the death of the pop icon Prince illustrates why you should have an estate plan. Prince died intestate, without a Will. If Prince had had a Will, there would not now be so much legal wrangling, maneuvering, and fighting over his estate. I don't think that Prince would have wanted that, and doubt that you wanted as well. All of that trouble could have easily been avoided if Prince had had a Will. To see the prior article, please visit:

http://www.balandlaw.com/3/post/2016/06/the-probate-mess-stemming-from-princes-death-is-why-you-need-an-estate-plan.html

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 
 
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By now, you have probably heard that the music icon Prince has died intestate, or without a will. You have probably also heard about the probate mess unfolding in Carver County, where Prince died. The mess involves multiple attorneys and multiple persons claiming to be heirs under the law, is going to end up being terribly expensive for Prince and everybody else involved, and illustrates why you need an estate plan.

For most people, an estate plan involves three documents:

(1.) a Will, which controls the disposition of your property after your death.

(2.) A Health Care Directive, which names someone – usually a close relative, such as a spouse, or a friend – as your health care agent, a person who is authorized to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make the decisions your self. For example, if you are in a coma and otherwise unconscious, the doctors can talk to your health care agent to make medical decisions related to your care.

(3.) A Power of Attorney, which lets the person who you appoint as power of attorney to make financial decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. For example, if you are in a coma and otherwise unconscious, your power of attorney can make financial decisions (related to bank accounts, real estate, investments, etc.) for you.

There are two primary reasons why you should have an estate plan. First, you want the control that comes from having a written plan detailing how you want your property distributed at the time of your death. I believe that you will feel an immense feeling of satisfaction and relief once you have a written plan in place that says what you want to have happen to your personal property when you die. I also think that you will feel a profound sense of relief when you have a health care directive and power of attorney that gives somebody you trust the authority to make medical and financial decisions, respectively, on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

In Prince's case, I suspect that he would have needed a trust to manage and control his music. The details of a trust and setting one up are beyond the scope of this article, but you basically appoint somebody to manage your property in the event that you cannot. A trust can be a powerful estate planning tool, but it is probably not appropriate for most people.

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.





 
 
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I am often asked to explain the difference between a Will and an estate plan. The short answer is that a Will determines what happens to your property after you die, and can be an important part of an estate plan. An estate plan, by contrast, includes a Will, and also a healthcare advance directive and a power of attorney, and may include a trust as well. The healthcare advance directive and power of attorney both give somebody else the authority to make health care or financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated.

I generally recommend that all persons have a Will, a healthcare advance directive (sometimes called a "living will"), and a power of attorney. A trust is sometimes appropriate as well, and a trust can be an important part of estate planning. If you own a small business, you may need to consider business succession planning issues as well, to pass the business onto the next generation.

A Will is a very powerful document that allows you to name a personal representative, a guardian for your children, and indicate what you would like to have happen with your property after you die. In addition to planning for what happens to your property after your death, I think that it is also important to appoint someone through a power of attorney and healthcare advance directive to make health care – related decisions for you and manage your financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated.

The best way to determine what is right for you is to meet with an estate planning attorney. To that end, I invite you to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss your specific situation. Everybody who calls gets a free 5 minute mini telephone consultation. An in person meeting is $250, and that amount is credited to your account when you retained me to represent you in drafting your Will, healthcare advance directive, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in the state and federal courts of Minnesota, and the advice that he gives is applicable to that jurisdiction only. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.