Where Do I Start?
Guttman Law is a leading estate planning law firm serving clients in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and throughout Minnesota. While many understand the importance of estate planning, one of the first questions clients ask is “Where do I start?” Of course, talking to an experienced trust and estate attorney is a good starting point, but there are several important decisions you have to make before meeting with your lawyer.
Knowing that these choices require a great deal of thought and discussions with your loved ones, this convenient guide is intended to help you get started on your estate plan. Once you become our client, we will provide you with compassionate, efficient representation and help you develop an estate plan that best suits your needs and objectives.
Principal attorneys Matt Guttman and Jamie Reff-Wagner are dedicated to helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their estate plans. Contact us today so we can start designing a plan for your financial future.
Preparing for Meeting With Your Minnesota Estate Planning Lawyer
Planning your estate may seem complicated, but it’s really about preparing today for both the expected and unexpected. While some associate estate planning with death, many estate planning tools, including living trusts, powers of attorney, and wills, can help you plan your financial future.
Now that you’re ready to start planning, here are some things to consider before meeting with your lawyer:
- Do you want to provide for a child or family member with special needs?
- If you have minor children, who should be their guardian?
- Who do you trust to manage your money for your children?
- Who do you trust to handle your financial obligations or make health care decisions for you if you suffer illness or injury and cannot speak for yourself?
- If you need to establish a trust, who will you appoint as trustee to manage your assets?
- Do you want to leave money to a favorite charity?
- If you have a sizable estate, do you want to preserve your wealth for future generations?
- If you own a family business, who will be your successor?
- Who should receive your financial assets, house, or other real estate? Should specific belongings go to certain people?
These are only a few questions to ask yourself, and they often involve compelling discussions with spouses and family members. After you think through these things, the next step is to get a handle on your assets and debts.
Make a List of Your Estate Assets
When you consult with Guttman Law, we take the time to learn about your life as well as your assets. Before our initial consultation with you, it would be helpful to make a detailed list of your assets as well as information about how such assets are titled and the names of the beneficiaries.
Our trust and estate lawyers can help make appropriate recommendations for a wide range of estate assets:
- Real estate (e.g. your home, commercial property, vacant land, vacation homes, family cabins, land contracts, leases, timeshares)
- Titled assets (e.g. motorhomes, manufactured homes, vehicles, recreational vehicles)
- Investment accounts (e.g. retirement plans –pensions, IRAs, 401ks — brokerage accounts, mutual funds, stocks, bonds)
- Bank accounts (e.g. checking, savings, money market accounts)
- Life insurance policy information (owner, beneficiaries)
- Business interests (e.g. LLCs, partnerships, other business entities)
You may also need to consider possessions such as antiques, artwork, collectibles, family heirlooms, jewelry, other valuables, and personal items. Disputes among loved ones about who gets what are not uncommon when someone passes without a will. Creating a well thought out estate plan, including a living trust or will, should help ensure your wishes are carried out and help avoid potential conflicts. In any event, compiling a list of your assets takes work, but doing so will prepare you for our initial consultation.
How Guttman Law Can Help Plan Your Estate
We will work with you to design a well-conceived estate plan by putting in place essential estate planning documents, such as:
- Last Will and Testament (Will)
- Revocable Living Trust
- Irrevocable Trust (Special or Supplemental Needs Trust)
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advanced Healthcare Directive
Our comprehensive services go beyond drafting documents. We provide you with reliable advice and objective insights so you can make the best decisions for your financial future. Matt and Jamie will help design an estate plan tailored to your needs and goals.
Contact Our Experienced Minnesota Estate Planning Attorneys
Regardless of your financial status or family situation, we believe that estate planning is for everyone. We represent clients from diverse backgrounds — individuals, new families, married couples, small business owners, same-sex couples — and always work in their best interests. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can start working on your estate plan.
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Find the answers to Some FAQs
What makes guttman law different
Our Approach Is Highly Personalized
We take the time to understand the complexities of your situation and develop an individualized approach.
Our Goal Is To Educate Clients
We seek to not only provide a service to our clients but to educate them every step of the way.
Our Priority Is Helping Clients Navigate Every Step of the Process
We are here to support our clients throughout their estate planning journey.