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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Estate planning in Minnesota without a beneficiary

During most people's lifetimes, they can accumulate a lot of assets. These assets may be in the form of money, investments, personal property or real estate. However, no matter what form the assets take, people cannot take them with them when they pass. Therefore, people need to come up with an estate plan to handle how their assets should be dealt with in the event of their death.

For many Minnesota residents, their spouses or children are natural beneficiaries for their estate. People want to make sure their families are taken care of after they are gone. However, in today's society many more young people are accumulating wealth before they have spouses or children. Furthermore, an estimated 17 million people across the United States are unmarried after reaching retirement age.

Without a natural heir, people can be left wondering who to give their assets to. They may also wonder if estate planning is necessary at all. Experts warn people to make sure they still undertake estate planning even without children or a spouse. Without an estate plan in place, the deceased's money may in some circumstances end up going to the state -- which most people don't want.

Instead, experts suggest that people explore all their estate planning options. In some cases, creating charitable trust or donor-advised fund can help people ensure that their assets will be given to the charity of their choice. A donor-advised fund is one good option for many because it allows people to take tax deductions when the money is placed in the fund, not when it is actually given to the charity. Therefore, people can get tax benefits during their lifetime.

Knowing who to declare as a beneficiary or heir of an estate is just one common estate planning issue. Other problems involving beneficiaries are often present. Therefore, people need to carefully explore their legal options to ensure their estate is protected.

Source: Reuters, "Estate planning for the young, rich and childless," Beth Pinsker, June 2, 2014

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