Most Asked Questions:
How do I know whether to choose a will or a trust?
Putting assets into a revocable trust can avoid what some believe is a costly, time-consuming probate process. But this may not be the best move for everyone. MJ Austin Law strongly believes this choice is highly individual and Marjorie is committed to helping her clients find what works best for them.
Is the purpose of estate planning only to provide for planning upon a person's death?
No, estate planning is meant to protect people during their lifetime, as well. Most plans include important, necessary healthcare directives and powers of attorney for finances. Healthcare directives and powers of attorney for finances can prepare for the possibility of accident, disability, and dementia. These documents are essential to good, loving protection.
How long will it take to complete my estate plan?
The truth is... it varies. At MJ Austin Law, we are committed to keeping the planning process moving from start to finish. The normal procedure is 2 office consultations with attorney and client. At the first meeting, we put that second time on the calendar so that the planning does not get bogged down mid-stream.
What if I have a vacation home in another state?
It is important to consider using a trust to ensure flexible administration and transfer of assets when dealing with real property outside Minnesota. Without a trust in place, a probate process would likely be needed in Minnesota and the state in which the client has the vacation home. A trust can eliminate the need for any probate, let alone two!
When do I need to put an estate plan in place?
I say “You need estate planning when you have someone to protect – and it can be YOU.” Estate planning can take unneeded stress from our future. It is essentially another form of insurance – protection against risk... the risk of accident, risk of disability, dementia, as well as death. At MJ Austin Law, we call this ‘peace of mind planning’.
But isn't estate planning only for the wealthy?
Estate planning applies to everyone. You want to make sure that your property, whatever accounts or valuables you may own, goes to the people of your choice. Also, you want a healthcare directive and power of attorney in place to protect you during your lifetime.
Am I too young for an estate plan?
Unfortunately, we know that life can change suddenly. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how old we are or how much of an estate we have, and putting a plan in place is the best thing we can do for us and our loved ones. Many MJ Austin clients send their children in upon turning age 18 to put the healthcare directive in place, an important protection for their children.
I'm married. Everything will go to my significant other, so why do I need an estate plan?
While being married does make dividing your assets easier, there are important instances where the spouse’s signature alone is needed to pass property. What if there are certain things that you’d like to go to other people?
I don't need an estate plan. I know my family will do the right thing.
While we hope that our loved ones will honor our wishes, the truth is that real messes often crop up. It’s best to write your wishes down, to clarify them so that your loved ones can avoid family difficulties at a clearly emotional time.
Why can't I just use an online estate planning tool?
Estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. There are many ins and outs of the law when it comes to trusts and wills. You want the documents to work as effectively as possible when the time comes. There is no sense in saving a little now only to have a document that doesn’t work when it’s needed.
I'm in a committed relationship, but we do not plan on getting married. How can an estate plan serve us?
MJ Austin Law has worked with many people in long-term relationships. Without the legal protection of marriage, it is still possible and important to have documents in place that assist in making sure the relationship is legally recognized. One important instance is signing the healthcare directive giving each other access to medical needs in the possible event of injury.
One of my children has a disability, how can I protect her with an estate plan?
The future of a family member with a disability can be greatly enhanced by putting a Supplemental Needs Trust or Special Needs Trust in place for that person. MJ Austin Law can assist with this.
I want my family to continue enjoying our family cabin for future generations. What should I do?
MJ Austin Law can help with a cabin trust to ease the future family enjoyment of the vacation home. Keeping the cabin in the family is a priority at MJ Austin Law.
My Simple 5-Step Process
My clients are often blown away with how simple estate planning it can be.
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Get in Touch
Let's start the conversation. I'm not here to sell you anything, I'm here to listen and provide sound legal council. Have a question? Want to put together a plan? It all starts with a chat.
Fill Out a Questionnaire
This helps me get a detailed assessment of your current situation. All you have to do is answer questions that feel relevant to the best of your ability. We will be well positioned for a thorough plan.
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Meeting #1
Here we clarify. This is a strategic conversation empowering you to make decisions about your assets. I am not going to tell you what to do, I am going to ask questions. We will leave the meeting with a clear estimate of cost and with a second meeting on the calendar.
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Draft the Plan
Now you can sit back and relax! This is where I put my word-smithing to work and draft the official documents.
Meeting #2
This is the most important part. Why? Because here we make things official. I've encountered many people in my practice who have started this process, but never finished it. At MJ Austin Law, we finish what we start.
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Looking to get some questions answered about your estate plan?
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