Protecting Your Legacy
We understand that your business and your family are your legacy. You’ve worked hard to build what you have, and a well thought out plan in place for your estate, including your business, is vital. Our experienced team will work with you to get a full picture of your assets and your wishes, and craft the estate plan that will best protect what matters most to you. We offer comprehensive planning services for individuals, families, and business owners.
Our Philosophy on Estate and Succession Planning
When it comes to our clients, our approach is personalized and direct. We know that your situation is unique to you and that your family deserves a creative and customized solution – not a cookie cutter approach. We want to know what’s going on with you and your family. In fact, as we begin our work together, we generally create opportunities to meet with everyone in the family so we can reflect the goals and desires of each member in our work. We meet you where you are and learn what’s important to your family before delving into our estate and succession planning toolbox. The result is a customized, personalized plan that captures the essence of your family and its current and future goals regarding personal estate matters and business succession planning.
ESTATE AND SUCCESSION PLANNING ATTORNEYS MINNEAPOLIS MN
Individuals and Families
A well-thought out estate plan is a gift to your loved ones. In building the right estate plan for your family, various legal, financial, and medical needs should be considered, in addition to your wishes in passing your property on to your chosen beneficiaries after your passing. The process of completing such a plan is highly personal, and there is no one size fits all solution. The right estate plan will create tax efficiencies, limit or eliminate the necessity of probate proceedings and ensure peace of mind for your loved ones.
We work with business owners to develop a plan for the smooth transfer of closely held businesses, whether you are handing it down from generation to generation, selling to an outside party, or selling to your employees. We can help make this transition an easy one, minimizing tax consequences to you and ensuring that your business is in safe hands for the future.
Business Succession Planning Lawyers In Minneapolis
A business succession plan is critical to your company. Having a solid plan in place will eliminate uncertainty and minimize unintended consequences. A good succession plan will not only protect you and your family, but it will help keep your business strong and protect your employees. Our experience with estate and tax planning, organizational structure, executive compensation, and mergers and acquisitions allows us to work with you to reach a solution that makes the most sense for your unique business.
Planning for the transition of a medical practice requires special considerations. It is important to plan ahead, not only for your family, but for your practice and your patients. Having your personal estate plan in place, plus a succession plan for the sale or transfer of your medical practice, will ensure that the people you care about the most are taken care of should something happen to you. We’ve worked with numerous medical and dental professionals buying and selling practices, we understand the unique considerations that come with that transition.
Your family farm represents decades, perhaps more than a century, of hard work and dedication to your land. As time goes on, the family members who participate in the farm may shift and change, but the importance of the land does not. We’ve worked with hundreds of family farmers and other agriculture professionals on estate and farm planning, and have the expertise in entity structure, real estate, taxation, and agribusiness to understand your unique situation.
Probate and Trust Administration
The process of administering a loved one’s estate can be stressful and time consuming, especially when you are grieving. We’ve guided countless families through the process, whether that means a court proceeding or administering the assets of a trust. We work with your loved one’s advisors in handling financial accounts, tax liabilities, and transferring title to assets in an orderly manner.
Helping Clients with Estate Planning and Succession in Minneapolis
We have the privilege of working with many types of clients from individuals to small and family-owned businesses. We are pleased to work with:
- Young Families
- Small Businesses
- Farm and Agriculture Businesses
- High Net Worth Families
- Family Businesses
What Really Differentiates Us
Aside from our years of experience and deep knowledge of estate and succession planning, when you work with us you will notice we are extremely hands-on. You deal directly and personally with us as we brainstorm the best options for your estate and business. Because of our collaborative environment, we pull in the expertise of our colleagues as needed when there are issues involving employment law, real estate, or intellectual property.
Many firms will farm different matters down to lower-level associates or paralegals. When you work with Avisen Legal, you will be working directly with the lawyer you hired. We pride ourselves on being accessible and offering practical, no-nonsense advice.
ESTATE AND SUCCESSION PLANNING VIDEOS
Contact Our Minneapolis Estate And Succession Planning Lawyers
Find out more about how you can take your estate and succession planning to the next level. Contact us today with your questions. We are here for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Estate and Succession Planning
- First, have the basics in place. That would include a will, a power of attorney and a health care directive (“living will”).
- Consider your family circumstances and address the needs that are unique to you and your stage in life.
- Are your children young? Then plan for guardians to raise them if you aren’t there and set up a trust to protect them financially until their adult years.
- If you are in your middle years make sure your retirement plan assets, life insurance policies and estate plan are all integrated and work together.
- If you are close to or in retirement, consider using a revocable living trust and other tools (payable on death accounts, transfer on death deeds, etc.) to avoid probate and smooth the transition process after you die.
- If you have charitable intentions incorporate them into your planning.
- Get an estate tax evaluation, particularly if you live in Minnesota where the estate tax effects smaller estates.
I own a family business. What are the biggest hurdles to overcome when doing an estate and succession plan?
In addition to covering the basics, make sure your plan addresses the future stability, management, and income of the business. Do you have a buy-sell agreement that describes what happens to ownership in the business after you pass away? Who will succeed you as the manager, CEO or President? If something happens to you, will your business have liquidity to continue operating? Plan for how the interests and shares of family members who work in the business and those who don’t will be balanced and distributed.
- Plan for it. It is far better to have a succession plan in place, even if it may need changing from time to time, than to just give all your children an equal share and “hope for the best”. Family disputes are expensive, both financially and emotionally. Planning, and communicating about the plan, are themselves gifts to your children.
- When you plan, be objective about the true skills and interests of your children in running the business. Can they fulfill the primary executive leadership roles or not? If they can’t successfully operate the business, identify who can and be prepared to give that person the compensation and incentives to do so (which can be done without giving them the ownership of the business).
- Stay focused on what is best for the long-term health and success of the business.
- Do equity among your children, which is not always the same as equality. Recognize and give value to those who commit their skills, sweat and energy to the business’s success.
- A succession plan is a documented structure for the orderly transfer of the management and ownership of a business operation to intentionally chosen new managers and new owners in order to:
- avoid liquidation or sale of the business,
- minimize taxes and other transfer expenses, and
- carry out the owner’s non-tax family related objectives.
- A succession plan is important because these goals don’t just happen. A will transfers legal title to your ownership in the business – that’s it. It doesn’t address other goals or deal in any real way with the continued health and viability of the business. Businesses don’t survive transfer to later generations unless the business’ needs are considered and planned for in an intentional way.
- A succession plan starts with understanding the business, structuring its ownership and management properly, attending to its cash flow and profitability and then flexibly aligning these elements to provide for the next generation to successfully take over at the proper time and keep everything going.
What are the unique estate and succession planning issues faced by dentists and other medical professionals?
- The primary issue is identifying an effective and efficient exit strategy for the practice. Dentists and other medical professionals who own their own practices should be aware of the limitations of the Minnesota Professional Firms Act, as well as the limits arising out of any ethical rules which relate to their profession, and rules against the ownership of dental and medical practices by non-dentists and non-medical professionals. Due to these limits, it may be impossible for a dentist or medical professional to leave their practice to their spouse or children. Will it make the most sense to sell or will a simple wind-down work for your situation?
- Can a willing and financially able and qualified buyer be identified?
- Are the sale terms properly structured so you realize the full financial benefit?
- Is the successor qualified and dedicated so that you have confidence your patients will be well cared for?
- Does your plan cover your needs for retirement income?
- Once your practice transition plan is in place does the rest of your estate plan integrate well with it? Is your spouse’s well being and income addressed? Are the estate assets set up to pass with minimum transaction cost and in a simple manner?
My family has been in farming for the past 4 generations. How do we tackle our estate and succession planning?
- First take a look at your assets, farming and non-farming.
- How many acres of land and what is the status of title? What is the approximate value if sold today? How much is tillable, how much is pasture or other use?
- What is the inventory of equipment, vehicles, grain handling and storage facilities, livestock barns and machine sheds/buildings? Who owns what? What is the current value?
- Do you have a farming partnership or a corporation? Are you in compliance with the Minnesota Corporate Farming Law?
- Is there life insurance, disability or long-term care insurance? What IRA’s or retirement accounts are in place?
- Homestead status of the land and other real estate
- Any recreational real estate, cabin, hunting acreage, time share or vacation home?
- Receivables and loans
- Next consider where and to whom these separate assets will go. Is there a family member involved in the farm? Do they want to take over and are they capable of doing so successfully? How much help do you want to give them to make their life in farming successful?
- What is the interest level of other family members – do they want to simply get “cashed out” or would they want to hold an interest in the land?
- Do you want the land all held together or are would you be ok with it being split among different family members?
- Would it help the transfer to have an entity like a family land partnership or LLC? Maybe the farming operation (crop or livestock) should be in a separate entity and rent land or facilities from a land-holding entity.
- How does your operation participate in government programs and payments? Only use structures that don’t disqualify you from participating in necessary programs.
- When all the information is considered and your goals are clear in your mind, put plan documents (will, trusts, partnership or LLC agreements, lease agreements and others) in place to define and manage the transition to following generations.
- Avoiding probate involves the use of one or more specialized planning tools. Sometimes its as simple as drafting a proper deed to convey title at death. Sometimes its setting up beneficiary designations properly. Other times you may want to use a revocable or so-called “living” trust.
- Virtually any person’s estate can be structured to avoid the need for probate. But it usually requires come care and attention to detail to make it effective and simple.
How does estate planning change from the acquiring wealth years, to preserving and distributing wealth?
- The more wealth you acquire, the more you will need to consider the need to plan for increased tax obligations, including the estate tax.
- What counts as “wealth” includes the death benefit payments from life insurance (not just the cash value), the value of retirement accounts, annuities, business interests, real estate and all other property.
- Higher asset individuals may want to employ the use of trusts in order to handle these obligations or to reduce the value of their overall estate.
What is a trust, and how will incorporating trusts into my estate plan help me ensure my wealth transfers smoothly?
- A trust is an arrangement where assets will be held for the benefit of a beneficiary or group of beneficiaries. A trust creates a separate legal person who will hold legal title to whatever assets are contributed into the trust. Depending on how the trust is structured, it may also be a separate person for income tax or estate tax purposes, or both.
- By putting title to assets in trust, the assets are taken out of probate and will be distributed based on the specific instructions in the trust agreement.
- A trust provides more extended control and protection over the assets than probate, because a trust can exist for a term of many years after you die. If you don’t wish assets to be distributed outright to your heirs right away upon your death, a trust is a good option.
- Procrastination! Many people put off completing their estate plan because they find the process unpleasant or assume they have plenty of time. More than half of U.S. adults do not have a will in place. Failure to plan means that state law will determine who gets your estate when you die, and it can have significant consequences if your assets are more substantial.
- Many people fail to revisit their estate plans as their lives change. They may get a will when they have young children and then fail to make new plans as their children reach adulthood, or when they acquire wealth, or upon retirement. A good practice is to review all of your estate planning documents every few years, or at a minimum when you experience a significant life event, such as the birth of a new child or grandchild, receiving an inheritance, the death of a person named in your will as a guardian, trustee, or personal representative, marriage or divorce, major illness, disability, or a big change in your financial circumstances.
- Failing to keep beneficiary designations up to date. Assets which are subject to a beneficiary designation (“non-probate assets”) do not pass through your will or other estate planning documents, but instead will be transferred according to the instructions you have given in the beneficiary designation. If your beneficiary designation is out of date, your assets may end up bypassing your intended heirs, or if the person you have named has passed away and you have not updated your contingent beneficiaries, there may be adverse and unanticipated tax consequences.