Guidance for the Estate Planning Process
At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we do extensive work in the area of estate planning, estate administration and probate, particularly with regard to clients owning farm and mineral properties. In North Dakota, it is not unusual for families to have a significant amount of real estate property or business assets.
If you care about protecting your assets and ensuring they are passed onto your family in the event of illness or death, we can help. Our Minot probate attorneys can also assist you if your loved one has passed and you need assistance with distributing their estate.
Our firm provides services in all aspects of estate administration and planning, including:
- Administration of estates and trusts and fiduciary
- Individual and income tax planning
- Advice and assistance concerning wills
- Drafting of revocable and irrevocable trusts
- Advice for charitable giving and other gifts
Need help with estate administration? Contact a Minot, North Dakota probate attorney today at (855) 245-5100.
Protecting Your Assets with Estate Planning
One of the main purposes of drafting a thorough estate plan is to ensure that your wishes are clearly stated in writing. In addition to drafting what you would like done with your assets and finances when you pass away, we can provide you with advice. Many individuals and families who do not have an estate plan end up losing significant assets to taxes. We take into account all of the possible variables and plan accordingly, including estate tax installment payment options, any business arrangements, insurance needs, and stock redemption.
What Happens If a Person dies Without a Will?
When a person dies, they die either with a will (testate) or without a will (intestate). A will generally provides for the disposition of one’s assets and also nominates a Personal Representative (PR) of one’s estate. The absence of a will means the State has made a will for you. This does not mean the State gets a person’s assets; rather, it means the State, by statute, sets forth who gets what and in what proportions (such as a surviving spouse or children). It also means the State, by statute, has provided which person will have priority to be the estate personal representative.
What is Probate?
Generally speaking, probate, or the probate process, involves collecting a decedent’s assets, paying estate creditors and taxes and distributing property to estate heirs and beneficiaries. Two factors are generally considered when determining whether a decedent’s estate must be probated:
- At death, did the decedent own any land (or minerals) solely or with another person as a tenant in common, and
- Does the decedent have “probate assets” that exceed $50,000 in value.
If the answer to either of these conditions is yes, then the person’s estate must be probated.
What Are Probate Assets
“Probate assets” are assets which get distributed through a person’s will. Probate assets are not assets which are owned in Joint Tenancy (with rights of survivorship) or that already have death provisions such as:
- A beneficiary designation, for example a life insurance policy
- A POD (payable-on-death) designation, for example a checking account
- A TOD (transfer-on-death) designation, for example an investment account
Legal Help for Probate & Estate Administration
When a loved one has passed away, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of the probate process. If it is your first time dealing with probate, you need legal guidance. If you are in need of a North Dakota probate attorney to litigate a matter, our team can help ensure that the process is handled properly. We can also assist you with any necessary petitions and the preparation of documents.