The Foundation Of Estate Planning
Although estate planning is much more than wills and trusts, these legal instruments are the foundation of a good estate plan. The will serves as a roadmap and set of instructions for how assets should be distributed, while trusts generally make it much easier and safer to transfer assets to beneficiaries without undue burdens or excessive taxes.
At Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh, PLLP, we help clients throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin create strategic, thorough and legally sound estate plans, including well-crafted wills and trusts.
Why Hire A Lawyer Instead Of Creating Your Own Will?
There are numerous websites offering free estate planning documents and templated forms. While these documents may help some individuals, they are neither custom nor customizable. Whenever a will contains vague language, doesn’t address all property or there is doubt about how the will was prepared/ signed/ witnessed, it greatly increases the likelihood of probate, as well as the risk of estate litigation.
A will can be changed or amended while you are still living. But once you pass away, the document must speak for itself. In order to ensure that it clearly expresses your wishes (and avoids time-consuming probate and costly litigation for your loved ones), it is a wise investment to work with an experienced attorney.
Which Kind Of Trust Is Right For You?
One key feature that makes trusts such powerful legal tools is that they are highly customizable – helping you address a few key issues or goals. Common examples of trusts include:
- Living trusts – these become irrevocable after death and facilitate easy transfer of assets to heirs, often avoiding probate
- Special needs trusts – established to benefit a child or another loved one with special needs while allowing them to also receive government benefits
- Spendthrift trusts – Created for beneficiaries (often children) who have trouble managing their own money. These trusts have strict rules for how and when the money is given to the beneficiary
- Charitable trusts – for leaving money to a specific charity or set of charities
- Asset protection trusts – for shielding assets against claims from future creditors
- Testamentary trusts – created by a will after the trust grantor dies. These can accomplish numerous goals, including reducing estate taxes.
Contact Us To Arrange An Initial Consultation
The estate planning attorneys at CBSH have the knowledge, skills and experience to help you craft estate planning documents that achieve your goals and protect your loved ones. To discuss your many will and trust options, call us in St. Paul at 651-968-0969 or fill out our online contact form.