» Estate Planning

Can I keep my kids from going to my ex-spouse if something happens to me?

In general, if there is a surviving parent, that parent will receive the first right to raise the children if something happens to one parent. However, it is a good idea to have a back-up guardian named in the event your ex-spouse is unable or unwilling to act in that role. Also, if you have a specific reason why you would prefer a different individual to raise your children instead of your ex-spouse, contact Mundahl Law to discuss your options. We have attorneys skilled in both estate planning and who understand the sensitive issues surrounding divorce.

Will my ex-spouse receive an inheritance from me?

If you have not yet revised your estate plan, the law will write your ex-spouse out of your will. However, do you have a back-up named for your ex-spouse? Have you removed your ex-spouse from all of your property where you have a beneficiary named? To avoid any confusion or unnecessary fighting, we strongly advise that you meet with an attorney to discuss revising your estate plan after your divorce. Contact Mundahl Law today, where we have attorneys who not only understand estate plans but also understand the sensitive issues surrounding divorce.

How do I leave a gift for my church?

Only through an estate plan. The law does not provide any means to distribute assets to a charity unless you have specifically provided for this wish in an estate plan.  If you would like to be sure a charity you feel strongly about receives a portion of your estate, please call Mundahl Law to set up an appointment.

I’m not married, but I have a long-term significant other. Will they receive an inheritance from me?

No. A long-term significant other, whether you have been together for 5 years or 50 years will not receive any part of your estate unless you specifically write this in your will. The law does not provide any way for a loved one to receive an inheritance unless that loved one falls into the specific categories listed in the law. If you would like to be sure a loved one is provided for, call Mundahl Law today to schedule a consultation.

Can I write someone out of my will?

In most cases, you can write someone out of your will. However, if this person would usually receive a portion of your inheritance under the law if you did not have a will, creating a will is the only way to ensure your wishes are followed. If you have specific wishes such as this, contact Mundahl Law today to be sure your wishes are written as you would like to see them.

I’m not married and I don’t have kids. Do I really need an estate plan?

This does not mean that an estate plan is not important for you. If you have friends, family members, or charities that you would like to provide for, an estate plan help you do this. Without an estate plan, the state writes one for you, and this might not be the way you would like to see your assets distributed. Also, if you are still alive but unable to make healthcare decisions or financial decisions for yourself, without naming an agent to take care of these things, a member of your family you might not be as close to or who doesn’t understand your wishes may be asked to make your decisions. Contact Mundahl Law today to discuss setting up an estate plan.

When do I need to change my estate plan?

Your estate plan should be changed upon major life events. These might include:

  • After your divorce or if your spouse passes away;
  • There is a death, marriage, or divorce in the family that affects your plan;
  • Your finances change significantly for the better or worse;
  • If you move to a new state;
  • You or a family member add to their family through having a new child or adopting a child;
  • You are diagnosed with a serious illness.

Your estate plan should also be revised if you simply change your mind about something you have drafted. If you review your plan and realize you are no longer in contact with the person you have named as a personal representative, for example, that would be the perfect time to revise your plan. Contact Mundahl Law today to discuss revising your plan.

How often should I review my estate plan?

This is a common question. There are no hard and fast rules as to when you should review your estate plan, but in general if you know about a change in the law or a change in your family or property you own, both of those are perfect times to review your estate plan. If you don’t see these changes, it is generally a good idea to review your estate plan every five years. If you have any questions about revising your estate plan, contact Mundahl Law to set up a consultation.

What are estate taxes? Do I have to pay them?

Estate taxes are the taxes paid on the total amount of your estate. There are two levels of estate planning: the state level and the federal level. Both of these have limits where if your estate is under a certain dollar amount, you will not need to pay estate taxes. There are also specific means to plan to minimize the amount of taxes your estate may need to pay. If you have questions about estate taxes, call Mundahl Law to set up a consultation.

Do my step-kids receive an inheritance from me?

If you don’t have a will, and you have not legally adopted your step-children, they will not receive anything from your estate. The only way to be sure they are provided for is to create an estate plan. Contact Mundahl Law today to set up your plan and ensure your step-children are provided for.

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