While many Minnesota residents may be familiar with the traditional big three estate planning considerations, they may not be as aware of other things that should be taken into account. Historically, estate planning has been conducted with an eye toward taxes, family and charity. With changing laws, however, these are not the only three areas that should be considered when planning an estate.
Tax planning used to be a predominant consideration. Now that people whose estates are under $10 million can pass their estates largely free of estate tax, this is not the important consideration it once was. More important is income tax considerations in regards to the respective tax rates a beneficiary may have at the time he or she will inherit.
Traditionally, people considered passing assets to their family members. The intestacy laws of the state provide that without wills, assets do pass to family members. In many cases, however, people may have non-family members with whom they are closer. People are able to use estate plans to pass assets to those non-family members if they wish to do so. Charitable planning is also often an important consideration. People may want to provide a method through their estate plans by which they can continue providing support for a favorite charitable cause.
People who are preparing to draft their wills may want to think critically about the goals they wish to accomplish. They might want to think beyond the traditional purposes of estate planning. By doing so, they could pass their assets in a more meaningful way. People may thus want to engage in a thorough discussion with their wills and trusts attorney while they are in the process of planning their estates. An attorney might be able to provide guidance as to the best way to accomplish the estate planning goals of his or her clients.