Brainerd, MN Attorney at Law

Wills, Trusts, Probate & Estates

Brainerd, MN Family Law: Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and more.

Brainerd, Minnesota’s Law Office of Attorney Edward R. Shaw works hard to protect your rights and aggressively pursue your interests in estate planning and probate matters. We have over 18 years of experience handling common probate and estate planning issues ranging from simple to extremely complex. Attorney Andrew Wipper will personally handle your issues with compassion and respect.

Attorney Andrew Wipper will guide you through probate when a loved one has passed away. He will meet with you, explain the entire probate process and how long probate takes, discuss the attorney fees and costs, answer all questions that you have, and prepare and file all documents that must be filed.

Call 218-825-7030, for a FREE, no obligation half hour phone or in-person consultation!

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning refers to the process of planning for the transfer of your property upon your death, and often, your potential mental incapacity or diminished cognitive abilities.  The goals of estate planning include directing disposition of your property at death, minimizing taxes and costs, simplifying the administration of your estate, and creating certainty for your loved ones.  Estate planning also helps avoid conflict between your heirs.  The major estate planning tools include Wills, Trusts, Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney.

What is a Will?

A Will is a document in which a person specifies who is receive his or her property upon death, designates the person who will be responsible for the probating the estate, designates a guardian for minor children and addresses estate taxes.  One common misconception is that having a Will avoids probate.  Probate is the legal process for  of transferring the assets of one who has passed away (“decedent”) that were owned as the decedent’s separate property and do not transfer to others through titling or contractual designations (i.e., a life insurance policy) .  Having a Will does not avoid probate and is essentially an instruction to the probate court.  However, having a Will does make the probate process less complicated and likely less costly.

What is a Trust?

Like a Will, a Trust in the estate planning context, includes provisions to distribute assets upon death, specifies who will be responsible to distributing the assets, designates a guardian for minor children and addresses estate taxes.  Unlike a Will, a Trust is effective immediately rather than upon death as is true with a Will, which allows for incapacity planning.  The other advantage of a Trust is that unlike a Will, probate can be avoided if all property is transferred into the Trust prior to death.  The disadvantage of Trust is that it is more expensive than a Will initially because of the requirement of transferring all property into the trust, but probate costs will be avoided.

What is a Health Care Directive?

A Health Care Directive or Living Will is a document that allows you to communicate your wishes regarding medical treatment if you cannot make those wishes known because of illness or injury.  It also typically designates a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to communicate or do not have the mental capacity to make a decision.  This ensures your wishes will be followed, creates certainty for your family, and minimizes conflict.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document that allows another person to act for you in financial matters.  A durable Power of Attorney allows a person to act for you if you become incapacitated.  A durable Power of Attorney is an important estate planning tool because it avoids the appointment of a conservator to manage your financial affairs.

What happens if I do not have an Estate Plan?

If you do not have an estate plan, Minnesota Law will dictate what happens upon your death or incapacity.  This may not be what you want and creates uncertainty for your family, increases the likelihood of conflict and leads to increased costs for your loved ones.

Disclaimer - We have tried to make this guide helpful for anyone with estate planning questions or probate issues, but the rules in our profession require that we tell you that this guide is not a substitute for an attorney or professional legal advice. Every individual situation is different and how the rules in this guide will apply to your situation may vary. You should receive competent legal advice from our office before making any legal decisions.