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  • Writer's pictureMike Rogers

Living Trust Minnesota: How to Create a Living Trust in Minnesota

Updated: May 29

Whether you’re in Minnesota or elsewhere, a living trust is different than a will. A living trust offers privacy, helps your estate to avoid probate, and ensures your assets are managed according to your wishes, even if you become incapacitated. It may be a key part of your estate planning.

By Mike Rogers, AIF®, Founder and President of 360 Financial

Mike Rogers is a fiduciary financial advisor with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry as an investment advisor and financial planner. He founded 360 Financial in 1995 and holds series 7 and 63 security registrations with LPL Financial.

How to Create a Living Trust in Minnesota

Do You Need a Living Trust in Minnesota?

As a Minnesotan, considering a living trust is a great step towards making sure your assets are protected.

A living trust is different than a will. A living trust offers privacy, helps your estate to avoid probate, and ensures your assets are managed according to your wishes, even if you become incapacitated.

This is crucial in Minnesota as well as many states in the US. Why? Because probate can be lengthy and costly. Most people don’t want their loved ones to have to deal with a probate mess after they pass.

If your primary concern is safeguarding your assets for your beneficiaries while making sure your estate doesn’t pay way too much in taxes or have to deal with legal complications, a living trust could be a good choice.

A living trust is particularly useful if you have substantial assets, including investments and real estate.

Remember, putting together a living trust isn’t just about avoiding taxes or probate. You may find that having a living trust gives you greater confidence because you’ll know that your legacy will be preserved and passed on seamlessly.

If you’re wondering how to create a living trust in Minnesota, this post will help.

However, it’s critical that you seek the advice of a good estate planning attorney as well as consult with your wealth management team.

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small family looking at finances

What Is a Living Trust?

Living trusts, particularly revocable trusts, have become a vital component of estate planning in Minnesota (MN).

A Minnesota living trust offers a comprehensive approach to managing and transferring assets.

But what is a living trust? A living trust is a legal arrangement that provides a framework for managing your assets during your lifetime and after death.

It involves three key parties: the grantor (you), the trustee (who manages the trust), and the beneficiaries (your loved ones). When you establish a living trust in Minnesota, you transfer the ownership of your assets to the trust. However, you can continue to use and control the assets of your trust as the trustee. After you die—or if you’re incapacitated—a successor trustee, whom you’ve appointed, takes over the management or distribution of these assets.

In other words, when you create a living trust, you still have control over your assets while alive.

But when you die, someone that you’ve appointed will control the assets.

When you have a living trust, you’re able to bypass the public and often time-consuming probate court process. This gives your estate privacy and the benefit of less hassle. Essentially, you’re saving your loved ones time and money.

Moreover, a living trust can be structured to minimize estate taxes, ensuring that more of your assets go to your beneficiaries rather than to the IRS.

A living trust is about control and protection—control over your assets now and protection for your legacy later.

fiduciary financial advisor call

Revocable Living Trusts

You may prefer to set up a revocable trust.

A revocable living trust is often preferred for its flexibility. As a Minnesotan, establishing a revocable trust allows you to maintain absolute control over your assets while you’re alive. You can change, amend, or even revoke the trust at any point. This adaptability is useful if your circumstances or intentions change, which can often happen over a lifetime. 

But what happens when you die?

Revocable trusts becomes irrevocable upon your death. This is good because it ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, without the need for probate. This saves your family or other beneficiaries time and money. And it ensures the privacy of your estate. A revocable trust is an ideal choice for anyone who wants a balance between future planning and present-day control.

You’ll know that your assets are protected and will be efficiently transferred to your beneficiaries, but you still maintain full control while you’re alive.

Understanding Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust is a legal entity created to hold ownership of an individual’s assets.

The creator of the trust, known as the grantor, can alter or revoke the trust at any time during their lifetime. This flexibility is a key feature, allowing for adjustments as your life circumstances change. In contrast to irrevocable trusts, revocable trusts provide the grantor with the freedom to manage their estate while they are alive and competent.

Irrevocable Living Trusts

An irrevocable living trust, in contrast to its revocable counterpart, is a more permanent arrangement. 

Once established, it cannot be easily altered or revoked. This might seem like a bad idea, but an irrevocable living trust offers significant benefits, particularly in terms of asset protection and tax advantages.

By transferring assets into an irrevocable trust, you legally remove them from your estate.

This means your assets are typically not subject to estate taxes and can be shielded from creditors in Minnesota. Using an irrevocable living trust is an effective way to manage and protect assets for future generations, potentially providing long-term financial stability.

However, due to its inflexibility, it’s important that you’re absolutely certain about the trust’s terms and the assets you include.

This type of trust is often favored by individuals with substantial assets who are looking to reduce their taxable estate and ensure a secure financial legacy for their heirs.

We recommend speaking with an estate planning attorney as well as your wealth management team about whether a trust is right for you. If you aren’t currently working with a fiduciary financial advisor and wealth manager to do your estate planning, we recommend that you put together that team sooner rather than later.

Your wealth management team can facilitate family meetings, that are an important part of estate planning.

They can guide you through the tax planning and wealth preservation steps that are critical to leaving a positive legacy.

family gathering

The Role of the Trustee and Grantor

In a living trust, the grantor (creator of the trust) typically acts as the trustee, managing the property and assets within the trust.

Upon the grantor’s death or incapacity, a successor trustee, designated in the trust, assumes this role. This seamless transition is a significant advantage, ensuring the continuous management of the estate without interruption.

What Can You Protect with a Living Trust?

A living trust in Minnesota is a versatile tool, capable of protecting a wide range of assets and addressing the common fears of asset mismanagement and undue taxation.

If you’re worried that your family will spend all the money within 6 months of receiving their inheritance, then a trust may be the right move. Or perhaps you just want to preserve your estate from probate and the long arm of the IRS.

You can preserve the following with a living trust:

  1. Real Estate: A living trust effectively shields real estate, ensuring direct transfer to beneficiaries without probate delays and costs.

  2. Bank Accounts and Investments: You can put bank accounts and investments into a living trust streamlining the transfer process after passing.

  3. Family Heirlooms: You can include family heirlooms in a living trust, ensuring their safe and intended transfer.

  4. Business Interests: You can safeguard business interests and intellectual property in a living trust. This may be vital for business owners planning for smooth succession.

Other benefits of a living trust:

  1. Complex Asset Management: Manages complex assets according to specific wishes, maintaining control over distribution.

  2. Provision for Minors and Dependents: Offers financial security and responsible management for minor children or dependents with special needs.

  3. Confidence: Guarantees confidence with the knowledge that diverse assets are protected from probate and will be handled as intended, minimizing legal complications.

5 assets you can preserve with a living trust

How to Create a Living Trust in Minnesota

Creating a living trust in Minnesota involves a few key steps.

Each step is important because it will ensure your trust is valid and effective. Working with an attorney is critical when creating a living trust.

However, we also recommend that you seek the advice of your wealth manager when doing your estate planning.

  1. Decide on the Type of Trust: Choose between a revocable or irrevocable trust based on your financial goals and needs.

  2. Review Your Assets: Identify and list all property, accounts, and valuables you plan to include in the trust.

  3. Choose a Trustee: Select a trustee to manage the trust. This could be yourself, a trusted individual, or a professional entity.

  4. Select Beneficiaries: Determine who will benefit from the trust – your beneficiaries.

  5. Draft the Trust Document: Work with an attorney to create the trust document, ensuring it meets legal standards and reflects your wishes.

  6. Sign the Document: Sign the trust document in the presence of a notary to authenticate it.

  7. Fund the Trust: Transfer your assets into the trust to officially fund it, thereby establishing the trust’s control over the assets.

Select a trustee to manage the trust.

Living Trust Pitfalls

While a living trust may be a great option for many families, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

These are some of the pitfalls that people may encounter when creating a living trust. It’s important to ensure you don’t make any of these mistakes.

Improper Funding of the Trust

A living trust is effective only if your assets are properly transferred into it. Failure to title your assets in the name of the trust means they may still go through probate.

Choosing the Wrong Trustee

The trustee has significant control and responsibility. Choosing an unreliable or inappropriate trustee can lead to mismanagement of the trust.

Ignoring the Need for a Pour-Over Will

A pour-over will ensure that any assets not included in your trust at the time of your death are transferred into it. Without one, these assets may be subject to probate.

Assuming a Trust Completely Avoids Taxes

While trusts can provide tax advantages, they do not completely eliminate taxes. It’s a misconception that placing assets in a trust will free them from estate taxes.

Living trust pitfalls

Who Shouldn’t Use a Living Trust

While a living trust may be useful for anyone with substantial assets, it’s not right for everyone. This is a short list of who should think twice about using a living trust.

1. Individuals with Simple Estates: If your estate is straightforward and below the threshold for estate taxes, the cost and complexity of a living trust may not be justified.

2. Those Who Can’t Maintain a Living Trust: A living trust requires ongoing maintenance and attention. If you’re not prepared to manage it, a trust can become more of a burden than a benefit.

3. Young Families with Limited Assets: For young families just starting out, the cost of setting up and maintaining a living trust might not be the best use of limited resources.

4. People Who Prefer Court Supervision: Some individuals might prefer the oversight that probate court provides, especially if they have concerns about a trustee managing their estate without external checks.

For young families just starting out, the cost of setting up and maintaining a living trust might not be the best use of limited resources.

Estate Planning and Living Trusts

When it comes to estate planning, living trusts are a cornerstone strategy.

They offer a blend of flexibility, control, and protection. A living trust works with other estate planning tools, like wills and powers of attorney, to create a strong plan based on your needs. A living trust allows for more detailed instructions around asset distribution.

But why does this matter?

Having more detailed instructions will potentially avoid family disputes and esnure your wishes are respected. Moreover, living trusts can be designed to address specific estate tax concerns, to ensure more of your wealth goes to your beneficiaries rather than to the IRS.

In the context of estate planning, living trusts are not just about distributing assets; they’re about creating a legacy. Most likely, you want to ensure that your life’s work and values continue to benefit your family and causes that are important to you, even after you’re gone.

A living trust is just one tool that allows you to leave a positive legacy.

When it comes to estate planning, living trusts are a cornerstone strategy.

Should Your Financial Advisor Help You with Your Estate Planning?

Involving your financial advisor in your estate planning is a wise decision.

In Minnesota, where financial and estate laws can be complex, it’s critical that you work with your wealth management team to create an estate plan that protects your family.

Your financial advisor plays a crucial role in understanding your overall financial picture, which is essential for effective estate planning. They can offer valuable insights into how your estate plan might impact your financial goals and retirement planning.

Additionally, a financial advisor can help identify potential tax problems and suggest ways to reduce estate taxes.

For the legal drafting of documents such as a living trust, you should work with an estate planning attorney. The collaboration between your financial advisor and your attorney can ensure that your financial strategy and estate plan are integrated. This will ensure your assets are preserved and you get the benefit of confidence regarding your assets and legacy.

No more tossing and turning at night or worrying about what will happen in the future.

a financial advisor can help identify potential tax problems and suggest ways to reduce estate taxes.

Estate Planning Basics

Estate planning is a critical process for ensuring that your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, it’s a complex field, and mistakes can be costly. Understanding these pitfalls, especially regarding living trusts, is essential for effective estate planning.

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

1. Not Having an Estate Plan: One of the most common mistakes is not having any estate plan at all. This oversight leaves the distribution of your assets up to state laws and can result in unintended beneficiaries.

2. Failing to Update the Estate Plan: Life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or the acquisition of significant assets necessitate updates to your estate plan. Failing to do so can lead to conflicts and confusion.

3. Overlooking Potential Tax Implications: Many people fail to consider the tax implications of their estate plan. Without proper planning, a significant portion of the estate might go towards paying taxes rather than to your intended beneficiaries.

4. Not Planning for Disability or Incapacity: A comprehensive estate plan should include provisions for your own care and management of your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself.

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Final Thoughts about Living Trusts for Minnesotans

A revocable living trust offers a flexible and efficient way to manage and protect your assets, both during your lifetime and after your death.

It provides a strategic solution for estate planning, allowing for the smooth transfer of assets while minimizing legal complications and tax implications. Whether you are planning for your own future or for the security of your beneficiaries, a living trust can be a key element of a well-structured estate plan.

​​Advantages in Estate Planning and Probate Avoidance

One of the primary benefits of a living trust in estate planning is its ability to bypass the probate process.

Probate can be lengthy and costly, with legal fees consuming a portion of the estate. Assets held in a living trust transfer directly to the beneficiaries, avoiding probate and ensuring privacy. This is particularly important in Minnesota, where probate laws can be complex.

Asset Preservation and Planning Flexibility

Living trusts provide a structured way to transfer assets like real estate, financial accounts, and personal property.

This not only simplifies the distribution process after death but also offers protection against potential legal challenges or creditors. For estate planning, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of how to effectively use a trust to safeguard assets.

Financial and Tax Considerations

While a living trust offers many benefits, it’s important to review its impact on your financial situation.

Consultation with an attorney and financial advisor is recommended to ensure the trust aligns with your overall financial goals, including tax planning. A trust can be designed to minimize estate taxes, providing a tax-efficient way to transfer assets to beneficiaries.

The Importance of Legal Guidance

Creating a living trust requires legal expertise.

An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through the process, from drafting the trust document to funding it with your assets. This legal guidance is crucial to ensure that the trust is valid and meets your specific needs.

Creating a living trust requires legal expertise.

Summary of Key Points:

  1. A revocable living trust in Minnesota allows flexible management of assets, aiding in efficient estate planning and asset protection.

  2. It bypasses the often lengthy and costly probate process, directly transferring assets to beneficiaries while maintaining privacy.

  3. Living trusts offer a structured way to transfer diverse assets, providing protection against legal challenges and creditors.

  4. Regular financial reviews and consultations with professionals are essential to align the trust with overall financial and tax goals.

  5. Creating a living trust requires the expertise of an estate planning attorney to ensure legality and alignment with specific needs.

Connect with a Financial Advisor

If you need a wealth management team to help you achieve your big-picture goals, we recommend scheduling a call with a financial advisor at 360 Financial. 360 Financial is one of Minnesota’s best independent wealth management firms with over 30 years of experience. We work with clients in Minnesota and across the US. If you’d like to work with a team that always puts your best interests first and is committed to helping you create a lasting legacy, please get in touch.

About the Author

Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers is the founder and president of Minnesota-based financial advisory firm 360 Financial. As the founder, Mike’s priority is that 360 Financial always serves the clients with empathy, integrity, and honesty. This customized, client-centric approach allows the firm to help clients decipher between the things they can control and what truly matters.

In other words, Mike understands that money is not the end-all-be-all; instead, it’s the “how” that fuels the “why” to the question: “What’s important to you?”

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At 360 Financial, our clients come first. You deserve personalized attention. You’ll be happier and more confident in your financial future when you have an advisor who always puts your needs and best interests first. Schedule a 15-minute introductory call with a 360 financial advisor to see how we can help with your retirement, succession, tax, and estate planning.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.


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