Your Personal Legal Advocate

Twin Cities Estate Planning Lawyer

Cloutier Law Offices P.A. offers comprehensive estate planning guidance. Attorney Elizabeth Cloutier can inform and educate you about your estate planning options, as well as tailor and implement a comprehensive strategy designed to achieve your specific goals and meet the needs of your family. With offices in Minneapolis, the firm represents clients around the Twin Cities metro area. Call today to arrange a free consultation at 612-332-5100.

Comparing Wills And Trusts

A will and a trust are both instruments for distributing your assets when you die. A will is a simpler document that encompasses most issues. It is slightly less expensive to draft while you are alive but costs a little more to administer when you pass away. A will is also less complicated than a trust because a trust requires that you take the time to transfer your assets into the trust.

Two main advantages of a trust are:

  1. The assets are transferred almost immediately after your death, rather than having to go through probate. This allows your beneficiaries to take possession of your assets almost immediately, saves your beneficiaries from paying unnecessary probate fees and allows you to maintain privacy about your estate.
  2. You can completely control where your money and assets go for the life of your survivors if you so desire. For example, if you have minor children and leave your assets to them in a will, your children will inherit everything at the age of 21, and you will have no say over how they spend it. With a trust, you can control when your children receive the money and how they are allowed to spend it.

Your Trust Options

Ms. Cloutier can review your estate planning questionnaire and determine whether a trust should be part of your estate plan, and she can help you determine which type of trust is right for you. She has experience in drafting various types of trusts that are individually tailored to each client’s specific needs. Such trusts include but are not limited to:

  • Revocable living trusts (joint and single)
  • Disclaimer trusts
  • Cabin trusts for lakefront and recreational property
  • Special needs trusts for families who have children with disabilities

Health Care Directives

A health care directive (sometimes referred to as a living will) allows you to designate a specific person or persons to control your medical care when you are unable to communicate for yourself. It also allows you to clearly set forth your wishes regarding the treatment of your body when you die. If you are in the hospital or are dying, your loved ones may be faced with difficult decisions. A health care directive allows your family to grieve without the burden of trying to guess about your wishes and desires.

There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” health care directive. An experienced attorney will tailor each document to express your personal requests and needs.

Powers Of Attorney

A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to handle your financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot attend to them on your own.

Estate Planning Document Storage

Your documents should be both secure and accessible. You may want others to have copies of certain documents. Consider updating your documents anytime you experience a major life event, such as the birth of a child or a change in marital status. General guidance regarding document storage includes the following:

  • Will: Minnesota county probate offices will keep the original copy of your will in a safe place. Though you are welcome to leave your original will with Ms. Cloutier, the first place most officials look for a will is at the county of your residence. Further, if you die in 40-plus years, it is unlikely anyone will remember which law firm drew up your document. Therefore, it makes sense to store your will with the county for ease of access after death. Each county charges a small fee for storage.
  • Health care directive: You will want to keep the original in a safe place, but not in a safe deposit box because your health care agent will need access to it if necessary. You should give copies of this document to your health care agent, your doctor, your hospital and anyone else you think could benefit from it.
  • Power of attorney: It is very important to keep this document secure. It may be wise to give a copy to your attorney-in-fact and to keep the original in a very safe place where your attorney-in-fact knows how to find it. It is important to remember that the more copies you give out, the more there are to retrieve and destroy if you choose to revoke them.

Contact Cloutier Law Offices P.A.

For a free consultation to discuss your estate planning goals, contact the firm in Minneapolis at 612-332-5100. Estate planning lawyer Elizabeth Cloutier advises and represents clients throughout the Twin Cities metro area.