The Wealth & Wisdom Blog

Information on Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration and Unique Asset Planning

Blog Archives

Distributing Tangible Property

Grandpa, who is going to get your fishing boat when you die? Apparently my estate planning mind started early—at around age 6 or 7.  After a beautiful afternoon of fishing with my grandfather on a rural Minnesota lake, I broke the silence of the car ride home with the most indelicate of questions.  My grandfather […]

Legacy Letters

A family legacy letter, also known as an “Ethical Will,” is a non-legal document that provides surviving family members with one’s wishes and directions for leaving behind a relational, spiritual, and family legacy.  While it is critically important to have one’s legal and financial affairs in order, creating a legal estate plan is only one […]

Signing Legal Documents Under Self-Quarantine

Over the past few weeks, our firm has continued to operate as normal.  We have hosted face-to-face meetings in our office, as well as video calls, telephone calls and emails.  We have, however, observed an increase in the number of new or existing clients who are addressing while in a “self-quarantine” or “shelter in place” […]

Three Lessons on Appointing Fiduciaries from Ancient Israel

Who should I appoint as my backup trustee and executor?  This is perhaps the most common question posed by my estate planning clients.  I recently studied the kings of ancient Israel.  I thought that those of us who counsel clients on making appropriate key individual or “fiduciary” appointments could apply a few lessons learned from […]

Key Individuals (“Fiduciaries”) In Your Estate Plan

Everyone completing an estate plan must give consideration to the individuals (or entities) making decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity or death.  If you are married, you would likely name your spouse as the first “agent.”  However, you would still name someone to serve if you (or, if married, both you […]

Options for Naming a Trustee

Generally, your options for naming a Trustee include the following: Beneficiary / Family Member Advantages: Knowledge of your unique asset situation and planning objectives; Cost savings Disadvantages: Lack of Experience; Potential pressures related to good faith and impartiality duties Non-Professional Individual(s) Advantages: Knowledge of your unique asset situation and planning objectives; Cost savings Disadvantages: Lack […]

Duties of a Trustee

If the person (or entity) named by you as Trustee agrees to serve, that person (or entity) has certain legal duties.  In brief, these duties are as follows: Good Faith. The Trustee must abide by the terms of your trust agreement. Loyalty. The Trustee must make decisions for the benefit of the beneficiary or beneficiaries, […]

Spring Cleaning

In anticipation of the warmer weather that we hope is right around the corner, our family has been engaged in a bit of spring cleaning.  Like many families we know, we have come to appreciate a home filled with more space and less stuff.  In a new book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” […]

Tangible Personal Property Lists

By Minnesota law, a Minnesota resident can direct by a written list how remaining items of tangible personal property should be distributed to and among friends and family following death.  Unlike a Will or a Revocable Trust (also called a Living Trust), such a written list does not need to be notarized or witnessed, but […]

Personal Financial Statement

If you don’t already work with a personal financial advisor or financial coach, you may have never completed a personal financial statement.  From a recordkeeping perspective, creating and maintaining a personal financial statement summarizing your current assets and liabilities is a tremendously important estate planning matter.  In creating a list of assets and liabilities in […]