Probate

The Estate of the Musician Known as Prince

In December 2021, the estate of the musician known as Prince, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDR), settled the valuation of Prince’s estate.  Prince’s music rights were the main point of contention –what is the day of death value of all of his songs and music rights?

A SHORT LIST FOR WHY TRUSTS ARE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS THAN A WILL

    1. A living trust brings all of your assets together under one single estate plan with ONE set of instructions. This arrangement makes your wishes easier to carry out. Trusts are designed to facilitate the distribution of your estate in that it will be simplified, unambiguous, and clear-cut. Provisions made to ensure the correct titling of your assets/beneficiary designations from your retirement savings plans and life insurance policies are given the highest priority. This preemptive action guards against legal contests and family squabbles that can easily erupt due to poor estate planning. 2. A clearly written and legally correct living trust is a private matter which is not obligated to be a part of the public record, plus they are not easily prone to litigation (as wills frequently are). Probate is a court supervised set of procedures that are mandated by law to be carried out in public. Disappointed or disinherited heirs are free to retain counsel to contest the validity of your will, and to call into question your state of mind when you signed/executed it. In addition, opportunists with varying motivations and self-interests can gain easy access to your family’s personal and financial information. This results in unnecessary expenses, animosity, and delays in settling your estate. Having a trust in place bypasses this very real possibility entirely. 3. A trust can help you avoid court interference should you become incapacitated. Any reasonable person would much rather have their long-term care and assets managed privately by those they know and trust. Without having appointed a trustee/attorney beforehand, the probate court must become involved and appoint a...

Samuel B. Ledwitz Joins the The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers

Samuel B. Ledwitz Joins the The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers Link to Samuel’s Profile at The National Advocates The National Advocates: Top 100 Lawyers is an invitation-only national organization composed of America’s Premier Lawyers. Membership is extended solely to a select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and profile as lawyers practicing in designated aspects of the law. Members of The National Advocates are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership. The criteria used in the evaluation process include, but are not limited to, the following: Reputation among peers, the judiciary, and the public The previous year’s achievements in the practice area of specialty Board Certifications in area of specialty Nominations received from leading lawyers, current members and/or our executive committee members Leadership and membership within other national and state lawyer or specialty organizations Rankings and ratings of the attorney by established associations or organizations The National Advocates’ mission is to promote excellence in the legal profession through advocacy training, marketing, networking and education of lawyers....

What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is the area of the law which deals with putting property to the best possible use for your benefit during your lifetime, and for the benefit of your “beneficiaries” after your death. If the estate has been well planned, your asses should be distributed according to your wishes at a minimum of time and expense. Poor planning may lead to lengthy probate, probate fees and taxes. Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to become aware of the difference between good estate planning and poor estate planning. Many people believe that if they have a valid will, their estate will not have to go through probate. This is simply not true. Wills, by their very nature must go through probate. The fastest and best way to avoid probate is the Revocable Living Trust the very cornerstone of our practice at Bezaire, Ledwitz, and Associates. The advantages of living trusts are significant. Under a will, an estate must be settled in probate court. Lawyer’s fees and court costs can be significant (see chart below). Additionally there may be exasperating delays, and the proceedings are a matter of public record. In sharp contrast, a living trust is settled without court proceedings. A successor trustee simply distributes assets according to the trust’s instructions, under the guidance of an accountant, notary public or lawyer to ensure titles are transferred properly. The process is cheaper, faster, and can save on estate taxes. Gross Estate Value Attorney and Executor Fees $100,000 $4,000 $200,000 $7,000 $300,000 $9,000 $400,000 $11,000 $500,000 $13,000 $600,000 $15,000 $700,000 $17,000 $800,000 $19,000 $900,000 $21,000 $1,000,000 $23,000 $1,500,000 $28,000...