Twin Cities Estate Planning Lawyer

At Cloutier Law Offices P.A., we offer comprehensive estate planning guidance. We 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, we advise and represent clients throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

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 which encompasses most issues. It is slightly less expensive to draft while you are alive, but costs a little more to administer when you die. 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

We can review your estate planning questionnaire and determine whether a trust should be part of your estate plan, and we can help you determine which trust is right for you. We have 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 with 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. At Cloutier Law Offices, P.A. we 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

Will: Minnesota county probate offices will keep the original of your will in a safe place. Though you are welcome to leave your original will with us, the first place most officials look for a will is at the county of your residence. Further, if you die in 40+ years, it is unlikely anyone will remember which law firm drew up your document. Therefore, we encourage our clients to have their wills stored 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 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. Paramedics routinely look on your refrigerator for copies of Health Care Directives, so it might be a good idea to put a copy there just in case.

Power of Attorney: It is very important to keep this document secure. Again, we do not suggest a safe deposit box unless your attorney-in-fact is someone who will have access to the safe deposit box in your absence. We suggest giving a copy to your attorney-in-fact and keeping 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 it.

Contact Cloutier Law Offices P.A.

For a free consultation to discuss your estate planning goals, contact us in Minneapolis. Our estate planning lawyer advises and represents clients throughout the Twin Cities metro area.