Estate Planning For Life's Certainties And Uncertainties

Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." A proper estate plan considers both of these certainties. It also protects your beneficiaries from the uncertainties life may bring.

For generations, the lawyers at Chandler and Brown, Ltd. have helped individuals, families and closely held businesses create estate plans to meet their goals and protect their beneficiaries. From our law office in St. Paul, we serve clients in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Call us at 651-964-6087 for a free initial consultation.

Protecting Your Beneficiaries

A well thought out estate plan, executed and in place before death or a terminal condition, can provide comfort and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. A properly drafted estate plan takes the guesswork out of how you wanted your assets distributed. It can also protect the assets you provide your beneficiaries and leave a legacy to serve your family for generations to come.

Depending on your goals, your estate plan may include:

  • A last will and testament
  • A power of attorney to appoint someone to make decisions for you if are incapacitated
  • A health care directive to delegate someone to make heath care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. A health care directive includes a living will to communicate to family members and health care providers whether you want artificial life support such as a feeding tube if you are unable to communicate your wishes.
  • Lifetime gifts for your beneficiaries
  • A prenuptial or marital property agreement
  • Revocable or irrevocable trusts

Learn more:

Planning for family farms and cabins

Caring for a disabled family member

Protecting a family member with an addiction problem

Estate planning and charitable giving

Dealing With Taxes

Depending on the size of the estate, there are a number of tax issues that must be considered in an estate plan. As of 2017, there is a federal estate tax applied to estates for any amount over $5,499,000. This is known as the federal estate tax exemption and is slated to be indexed for inflation in each successive year.

In Minnesota, there is an estate tax for any estate greater than $1.8 million. The state tax exemption, as this is known, is scheduled to grow $200,000 a year over the upcoming years until it caps at $2 million in 2018. Each type of estate — smaller than the Minnesota tax exemption, between the Minnesota tax exemption and the federal tax exemption, and greater than the federal tax exemption — requires careful planning to accomplish our clients' goals and minimize estate taxes.

Wisconsin does not presently have a state estate tax.

Your estate plan can minimize estate taxes with strategies such as the use of an irrevocable life insurance trust.

We can also help you consider any gift tax issues. Federal estate tax credit is unified with the gift tax and the annual gift tax exclusion is $14,000. Minnesota does not have a gift tax but they have a three year look back period for large gifts near the end of life.

Schedule A Free Estate Planning Consultation

To discuss your estate planning needs with an attorney at our law firm, call us at 651-964-6087. You can also reach our office online.