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Minneapolis Estate Planning And Probate Lawyers

An estate plan is a set of documents that protects your interests and your loved ones in the event of your death or a debilitating condition. Without at least a basic will, family members would be faced with difficult decisions, and the state of Minnesota would determine who inherits your property.

At Burns & Hansen, P.A., our individualized estate planning services put your wishes in writing to provide for your care and avoid unnecessary disputes or delays in settling your estate. We also handle estate administration. We serve clients in Minneapolis, across the Twin Cities and beyond. Contact us today for a free initial discussion. Call 952-219-7897.

Why Everyone Should Have An Estate Plan

Estate planning is not only for “wealthy” people or “old” people. Our clients are individuals and families of all walks of life and all stages of life. If you are getting married, getting divorced, bringing a child into the family, buying a new home or retiring, you should create or update your estate plan. If you own a small business, we can ensure your business succession planning dovetails with your estate planning. We often answer questions about estate planning topics.

The full extent of our estate planning and probate practice includes:

  • Wills and trusts: Ensure your primary assets go to the proper beneficiaries. The right trust can help your family avoid probate or minimize estate taxes.
  • Power of attorney: Choose someone you trust to make important business or financial decisions should you ever be unable to make them yourself.
  • Health care directives: Assign someone to make important medical, health and end-of-life decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.
  • Guardianships: Gain supervision of a loved one who may be unable to care for themselves.
  • Conservatorships: Appoint a conservator to manage the health care and finances of a struggling loved one.
  • Estate administration and probate: Administer your loved one’s estate and resolve any outstanding issues in the estate and among the family.

Our estate planning attorneys sit down with you to ask gentle questions about a wide range of scenarios: Who should inherit what? Who would be guardians to your minor children if you and your spouse died? Who do you trust to handle your affairs if you are incapacitated? Would you want heroic life support measures?

Estate Administration And Probate Disputes

If you are appointed as the executor/personal representative for a loved one who has passed away, our firm provides reasonable rates to help settle the estate. We can offer legal advice as you carry out the duties, or we can take on the burdens for you. Our lawyers have handled large, complex estates as well as modest estates not subject to the formal probate process. We welcome inquiries from out-of-state executors needing local counsel.

We also represent beneficiaries or excluded heirs in will contests over the validity of the deceased’s will or the distribution of certain assets. We understand that these unfortunate disputes can tear families apart. We are skilled in negotiating settlements but also skilled trial lawyers who can vigorously assert your interests in court if necessary.

Common Estate Planning Questions

At Burns & Hansen, P.A., we provide a spectrum of legal services to clients from throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. Many people do not consider drafting a will or trust until later in life. But developing an estate plan is an important step for anyone, regardless of their age. Often, our lawyers will hear the following questions related to estate plans:

When should I update my will?

Many things happen throughout our lives that will make us second-guess our estate plan. Whether you update your will depends on your current wishes for your assets. Relationships change over time, for instance, and you may no longer trust a person who is on your will. You may also want to change your will after a major life event like a death or a divorce.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process that occurs after a person’s death. The will of the deceased must be proven, and the estate settled before inheritances may be distributed to heirs; this occurs through probate.

Why should I have a power of attorney?

A power of attorney will give you a say in who controls your assets in the event of your death or incapacitation. Because these events are often unpredictable, having a power of attorney may give you peace of mind regarding the future. Essentially, a power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person authorization to control your financial matters.

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

Perhaps the biggest difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect after a person dies. But a trust may have a trustee appointed to certain assets or property once the trust has been made official. There are different types of trusts, and how you and your attorney draft your trust will differ case by case. Trusts may also help heirs avoid the probate process.

How can a lawyer help me with my estate plan?

An experienced lawyer understands the process for all elements of your estate plan. He or she can walk you through your options, give you the pros and cons of each approach and help you decide what is best for your assets and your loved ones going forward.

To learn more about how we may help you, reach out to our office for some insight or schedule a free initial consultation. Call us in Minneapolis at 952-219-7897.