Experienced Probate Attorney in Minneapolis
When most people think about probate and estate planning, they think of wills. However, wills are only one of the many components to this area of law. Trusts, powers of attorney, health care surrogates, and several other important documents are discussed in the estate planning process. Additionally, a trust and estate attorney can help you when you are involved in the probate process after the loss of a loved one. Unique Estate Law handles all aspects of probate law and takes pride in providing our clients with unrivaled care and support.
A common misconception about probate is many people think if they have a will, they can avoid probate. The will is simply an instructional document given to the court on what to do after you die – you still have to go into probate. If you do not have a will, and you go into probate, the court follows the law and doesn’t follow your wishes.
There are estate planning tools that will place some assets outside of probate. Assets held in the majority of trusts will pass outside of probate. Additionally, property held jointly with “right of survivorship” will automatically transfer to the other owner when you die. No probate will be necessary for this property.
There are also steps you can take to avoid certain assets going through probate such as adding a payable-on-death designation to bank accounts. Those accounts will fall outside of probate as your beneficiary can access the money straight from your bank after you die. Minnesota also allows for transfer-on-death deeds for real estate and registration for securities. This allows for real estate deeds and registered stocks and bonds to pass directly to beneficiaries upon your death.
With all of this information in mind, it is most important to remember that a will does not exempt your estate from probate. Without a will, however, the probate court will not follow what you would have wanted for your estate. The court will follow the law.
Power of Attorney Ends at Death
Another common misconception in probate law is that power of attorney survives death. A power of attorney is a legal document which grants authority for another person to act on your behalf in legal or financial matters that you specify. You are considered the principal and the person acting on your behalf is your agent. The power of attorney ends upon the death of the principal. This is true in Minnesota and in every other state. You cannot claim power of attorney to access a deceased loved one’s bank account. Once the principal dies, his will dictates who executes his or her estate. The will directs the executor, known as the personal representative, on how to handle financial matters and distribution of the estate.
Knowledgeable Estate Planning and Probate Attorney
Estate planning is too important for guesswork. You need an expert in the field to make sure your wishes are specifically outlined for the future of your estate and your loved ones.
If you are interested in a probate consultation, contact us today by filling out a contact form or calling us at (952) 260-2043 with any questions you might have. Feel free to check out our fees page for pricing information.