When a person in Minnesota sets up a trust, they will name a certain individual as the trustee. This is an important role that comes with significant responsibilities. Most trustees want to properly fulfill their role as trustee, including the fiduciary duty they have to the trust beneficiaries.
An elderly person often entrusts their financial matters to a family member or friend once they are unable to handle their finances on their own. Usually this relationship works well and allows the elderly person to have help with their financial matters. But, occasionally this trusted person takes advantage of the elderly person which can result in financial exploitation, and subsequently, probate litigation.
When a person dies, their estate is left to whomever was mentioned in their estate plan. But, sometimes, it does not go as simply as one would expect. In situations where there are multiple marriages and children, large amounts of money and property, and other complicated matters, a person's estate may not be settled easily. An estate dispute is common and may require probate litigation.
Ideally, a good will and trust would be enough to make sure assets go to heirs smoothly and fairly. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. The estate distribution process often causes confusion and conflict among family members.
There is a lot of misinformation about probate, and many people might have the impression that they should avoid the process at all costs. In fact, it is a process that can help ensure the wishes of a loved one are fulfilled when a will is challenged or issues are present when an estate plan is executed.
We often take steps to protect ourselves and those we love. This is often the premise for estate planning. We take the time to draft specific documents with the intent to communicate our wishes at the end of our life and after our passing. With certain estate planning documents, it is possible to avoid the probate process; however, this is not always the case. Because it is not always possible to avoid probate, our heirs might have to endure this process after our passing.