Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

Heirs unprepared for wealth transfer


The composition of families of the baby boomer generation have been less traditional, due to more couples entering into second marriages or living together without getting married. A recent report from BMO Wealth Management found this could greatly complicate asset distribution to heirs and beneficiaries after a parent's death. For families in Minnesota, this could lead to more legal wrangling.

According to the report, estate planning is insufficient and other warning signs exist. Over half of surveyed adults, 52 percent, did not have a will, and this rose to 56 percent for adults between 35 and 54 years old. The survey found that 40 percent of potential heirs thought that their parent's estates were inequitable, and unmarried adults were most likely to believe they were treated unfairly. A minority of adults, 28 percent, knew about their parents' wills or plans to distribute their estates.

There was a failure to share information because a small number of parents, 40 percent of parents, shared intentions over their estates with their children. Only a quarter of married adults claimed that their spouses knew where their wills or powers of attorney documents were kept.

Having a will and estate plan in place can prevent fights and legal battles over an inheritance and its distribution, regardless of the parent's wishes and intent, under Minnesota's intestacy laws. Wills should be updated as marriage, family situation, desires on asset distribution and financial circumstances change.

Communication can help prevent family disputes and court fights. Distribution of assets should be explained and documented. Appraisals can help ensure that the value of property such as artwork or jewelry is not later challenged.

Deciding how assets should be distributed is difficult and possibly emotional. Determining which item is important to family members, allowing an heir to select items or even drawing lots may be utilized.

An impartial executor should be appointed. A family member may be considered biased in a legal challenge.

Finally, family members and professionals such as lawyers and accountants should know the location or even have copies of wills and other important documents such as a power of attorney. Events may make quick access to these documents important.

An attorney can help parents prepare these documents and decide distribution of assets. Proper drafting and planning can help families get through a difficult time.

Source: BWO Wealth Institute, "Estate planning for complex family dynamics," Accessed May 7, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map