The Basics -Estate Planning

This page is intended to give you legal information, not advice. Contact your attorney to implement your legal needs.

Estate planning need not be overwhelming. Only death and taxes rise above estate planning when it comes to dreaded facts of life.

Most clients probably need the following components in their estate plan. Call the attorney of your choice to confirm the need for these documents and ask if they can provide you with a fee up front so you know what to expect when you go in for service.

Durable Power of Attorney

Health Care Proxy


Transfer on Death Deed (Recorded with the county) - Minnesota*

Codicil to Will

Final instructions (desired funeral arrangements). It is very helpful for your next of kin if they know exactly what final arrangements you want upon your death. Consider writing down your final wishes. If you want to take it a step further, you can prearrange and/or prepay for those arrangements.

* The "TOD" could make it easier and faster for your heirs to take title to and sell your home. If you have a large number of heirs or heirs who don't agree that the sun rises in the East, be sure to rethink whether or not "TOD" is going to work in your situation. Ask your attorney for advice!

 If you have already established a living trust, here are some tips to help you review your plan...

Do not name the trust as beneficiary on your IRA or retirement accounts. Instead, name individual beneficiaries on these accounts to streamline administration of the trust after your death and insure that your heirs don't lose valuable tax benefits.

Make sure you have retitled assets that you wish to be inside the trust.

Make sure you have a pour over will to cover things not inside your trust.

Make sure your trust documents are accessible and that your trustee(s) understand what is expected of them.

Clients with substantial tax deferred assets (retirement accounts and annuities) should understand that their estate may include a substantial tax liability. If IRA and other accounts are set up properly, non-spouse heirs may have up to 10 years to take distributions from these accounts, spreading the tax liability out over a period of time.

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Todd's Tax Service LLC