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Estate Planning And Probate

ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES

Thinking about the future can feel daunting. At Fremstad Law, we understand the emotion and fear that can be involved and to help you pave a clear path for yourself and your family, we offer a full spectrum of estate planning services. These include working with you to plan for your estate (i.e. your assets, property, etc.) while you are living, if you become incapacitated, and after your death. We use our good judgment to answer all of your questions and fully explain the costs and benefits of all available planning tools, which may involve transferring, buying, selling, or otherwise managing your assets while you are living, who can make decisions for you if you are incapacitated, and how your assets will be managed and/or distributed upon your death. We take the time to listen to and work with you so you can be confident that you are making fully informed decisions. Our experience has taught us that planning now (while you are still able to) can significantly minimize and often eliminate hassle, conflict, and cost in the future. Some initial questions to consider when thinking about planning your estate are:

  • Whom do you want to inherit your estate?
  • Whom do you want to be responsible for administering and managing your estate if you become incapacitated? After your death?
  • Whom do you want to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to?
  • Do you have any potential gift or estate tax concerns?

PROBATE SERVICES

The death of a family member or a loved one is often unimaginable and besides the wealth of emotion, it comes with many questions and uncertainty as to what to do next. Fremstad Law is committed to helping to answer those questions and clarifying the uncertainty by assisting you with the probate of your loved one’s estate. Probate is the process of using the court to distribute the assets, property, etc., pay the last debts, and wrap up the affairs of a deceased person’s estate. The person responsible for these tasks is referred to as the Personal Representative (previously called the Executor). We form a close team with you as the Personal Representative and walk you step-by-step through the process of distributing assets, paying last debts, and wrapping up the affairs of the deceased person. Depending on the types of assets the deceased owned, the value of assets owned, and how the assets were owned, probate may not be necessary. Some basic considerations include:

  • If the deceased had prepared a valid Will prior to death, the probate process will involve following the Will’s instructions for disposal and distribution of the assets, while also fulfilling all requirements of applicable state law. A Will can also provide instructions as to care and custody of minor children.
  • If the deceased did not prepare a Will prior to death, his or her assets will be disposed of according to the state’s laws of intestacy (i.e. the state provides a default Will). The probate process will involve following the state’s instructions for disposal and distribution of the assets, while also fulfilling all requirements of applicable state law.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do my spouse and I each need a Will?

  • Yes – each individual (whether married or not) needs a Will. “How much” you own has very little impact on the usefulness of a Will, especially if you have young children. It is our goal to work with you to ensure your Will achieves your goals and take whatever time is necessary to fully and completely answer your questions so you can feel confident in your decisions.

Does having a Will avoid probate?

  • No – a Will provides instructions to the probate court and the Personal Representative (previously called the Executor) as to where and how your assets are to be distributed. There are other factors involved to avoid probate, including the type of assets, how you own the assets, and the value of your assets. In preparing your estate plan, we use our knowledge and experience to ensure that you understand what will happen upon your death.

Who is responsible for administering or handling my estate after by death?

  • If you have a Will, you will nominate a Personal Representative (previously called the Executor) who will be responsible for handling your estate. This will involve paying any last debts, distributing or disposing of your assets per your instructions, and closing your estate. If you do not have a Will, the state’s intestacy (i.e. default) laws identify a list of persons who would have priority for appointment as Personal Representative of your estate.

What is a trust?

  • A trust is a fiduciary arrangement whereby a third party (“Trustee”) holds and manages assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be set up in a variety of ways and can detail how and when assets pass to beneficiaries.

Do I need a trust?

  • Whether a trust is right for your situation depends on your goals and what you are looking to accomplish with your assets. We listen to you and work cooperatively with you to determine your goals. We will answer all of your questions as you decide whether or not a trust is the best tool for you. If it is, we will walk you through the drafting and revision of the trust agreement (the rule book for the
    trust) and will work with the rest of your team (accountant, financial planner, etc.) to ensure the trust is properly funded.

The below forms and any info on it does not constitute legal advice and that downloading it and/or filling out the form does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Client Intake Form – Single individual – Current (8-2015)

Client Intake Form – Married – Current (8-2015)

Fremstad's Estate Planning And Probate Attorneys

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