There is a lot of confusion about trusts and whether a trust is "right" for Minnesota residents. I follow a few preliminary guidelines in determining of a trust is a proper estate planning tool for clients:
1. Do you have, or is it likely you will have, a taxable estate?
2. Do you own real estate in more than one state?
3. Do you want to dictate the use of your assets after your passing?
If the answer to any of these questions is Yes, then I move to more detailed questions on the person's estate. The numbers fluctuate on what constitutes a taxable estate, so I don't delve into that in detail. But, I will offer that Minnesota residents should first assess whether their estate is taxable by Minnesota. Everyone living in Hugo, White Bear Lake, or Ely face the same state tax structure.
Owning property in more than one state means you will, upon passing, face both a domiciliary probate and an ancillary probate. For example, if your primary residence is in Centerville and you have a cabin in Osceola, you will file a primary probate in Minnesota and an ancillary probate in Wisconsin. Two probates mean two lawyers and probably 5 times the expense.
Finally, if you do not wish to hand over your assets without restriction, a trust is a viable tool. Sometimes kids are not trusted, sometimes the assets are preserved for future generations. The reasons for continued control are endless and highly personal.
I think many lawyers over utilize trusts. In most case, a will and transfer on death deed are more than adequate and much cheaper. I am here to help you assess what is right for you!
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