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Wills

Friday, October 12, 2018

Is a Pour-Over Will Right for You?

Estate planning can be complicated. One of the biggest reasons it can be so difficult is that there is so much at stake: your legacy, your assets, and the well-being of your heirs. Another reason is that the terminology is often very confusing. If you are not an estate planning attorney, you likely do not know what many words and concepts associated with estate planning mean. One common example of this is something called a “pour-over” will. This is an incredibly common and important estate planning tool, but one most people do not know anything about. Read on to learn more about whether a pour-over will could be right for you.

What is a Pour-Over Will?

You likely know that a will is a legal instrument you use to specify who gets what pieces of your estate after you pass away. A pour-over will is a kind of will that ensures that any assets you have which are not explicitly accounted for in your will are placed into a trust at the time of your death. Think of it as one final protective sweep of your assets.


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Monday, February 5, 2018

When Heirs Cry: The Impact of Prince Dying Without a Will


Q: Do I need a will?

Minnesota's unique estate law headline case of recent years --if not of all time --involves the administration of the estate of the late artist, Prince.

For many, Prince was a living legend in the music industry. However, after his untimely death in 2016 from an accidental overdose of painkillers, he became the poster child for why you need


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Marriage is NOT ENOUGH. LGBT Rights Still Threatened Under the Current Administration

When the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage should be recognized across the US, the LGBT community breathed a sigh of relief. The community thought they could relax and this would take off the pressure of fighting for so many rights.

Many clients told me they no longer felt the need to adopt a child in situation where one wife was the birth parent. They felt that marriage would protect the rights of the non-bio parent. They are wrong!


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Sunday, October 1, 2017

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

A will sets out whom you would like to get your property when you pass away. It also appoints someone who will settle your estate on your behalf. While you can certainly


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Friday, July 14, 2017

Living Trusts Vs. Wills: Choosing the Right Estate Planning Tool


There many types of estate planning tools and each one offers benefits and drawbacks. Some tools work better to accomplish certain goals than others. In addition, some individuals or families may not need to utilize certain options, while others will need a variety of more complex choices.

Revocable living trusts and wills are similar because they allow you to name beneficiaries for your property. These are both perhaps some of the most widely used estate planning tools, but they accomplish diverse goals.
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

7 Secrets to Drafting a Successful Will.

Writing a Will is something everybody should do.  With a Will, you can name a guardian for your minor children, decide who gets your assets, and appoint someone to sort out your estate.  A properly drafted Will should help maintain family harmony, negate confusion and minimize any time your family has to spend in court.  A Will certainly shouldn’t cause family conflict or confusion or require your family to spend thousands of dollars and hours in court just to determine your wishes.  However, since you won’t be around to witness how your Will actually functions, you should take steps now to ensure that your Will does exactly what you want.  Below are the 7 Secrets of a Successful Will:

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Holiday Talks, Part 3: Discussing Your Parents’ Estate Planning Needs

As I discussed in Part I of this series, your parents may feel reluctant to discuss details of their estate plan.  For many personal matters such as finances and health care wishes are to remain private. But, it’s important to have this discussion so long as you are operating with the proper intentions.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holiday Talks, Part 2: Discussing Your Estate Plans With Your Adult Children

It is a common occurrence to have clients come to me after a parent died and say “I didn’t know XXX (fill in the blank) about my Mom or Dad.” Many parents feel reluctant to discuss financial and estate matters with their children. However, any good estate planning attorney would encourage (even urge) you to have this discussion. 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Talks, Part 1: A Wonderful Time of the Year to Discuss Future Plans

It’s difficult to believe that it’s “that time of year again.” How often do you hear that every November/December? For many, this is the time of year to spend time with family and friends. For this estate planning lawyer, the busiest time of the year is generally November through January. Why?

I believe there are two reasons: family get togethers and resolutions. 


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Sunday, July 26, 2015

I Just Moved to Minnesota. Do I Need a New Will?


A Minneapolis Estate Planning Attorney Discusses How Moving to Minnesota Affects Your Estate Plan

Minnesota’s economy is booming with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and this means that people are moving here to take advantage of our great standard of living. As a result, I often receive calls from people asking if they need to update their estate plans due to the move.

In general, wills or living trusts that are valid in one state should be valid in all states. However, if you’ve recently moved to Minnesota, it’s highly recommended that you consult a Minnesota estate planning attorney. This is because states can have very different laws regarding all aspects of estate planning.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Executors Fees

An executor's fee is the amount charged by the person who has been appointed as the executor of the probate estate for handling all of the necessary steps in the probate administration. Therefore, if you have been appointed an executor of someone’s estate, you might be entitled to a fee for your services.  This fee could be based upon a variety of factors and some of those factors may be dependent upon state, or even local, law.

General Duties of an Executor

  1. Securing the decedent's home (changing locks, etc.)
  2. Identifying and collecting all bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks, bonds and mutual funds
  3. Having all real estate appraised; having all tangible personal property appraised
  4. Paying all of the decedent’s debts and final expenses
  5. Making sure all income and estate tax returns are prepared, filed and any taxes paid
  6. Collecting all life insurance proceeds and retirement account assets
  7. Accounting for all actions; and making distributions of the estate to the beneficiaries or heirs.

This list is not all-inclusive and depending upon the particular estate more, or less, steps may be needed.

As you can see, there is a lot of work (and legal liability) involved in being the executor of an estate.  Typically the executor would keep track of his or her time and a reasonable hourly rate would be used. Other times, an executor could charge based upon some percent of the value of the estate assets. What an executor may charge, and how an executor can charge, may be governed by state law or even a local court's rules. You also asked whether the deceased can make you agree not to take a fee. The decedent can put in his or her will that the executor should serve without compensation but the named executor is not obligated to take the job. He or she could simply decline to serve. If no one will serve without taking a fee, and if the decedents will states the executor must serve without a fee, a petition could be filed with the court asking them to approve a fee even if the will says otherwise. Notice should be given to all interested parties such as all beneficiaries.

If you have been appointed an executor or have any other probate or estate planning issues, contact us for a consultation today.


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From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.


9.3Chris Tymchuck

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