Personalized Representation For
Solving Your Legal Problem

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to questions I am often asked at Port Wright Law Office. The information here is not meant as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with me, Terri Port Wright. Please email me or call my office at 218-451-4082 to learn more about the legal services I provide.

Choose From The Following Topics:

General Questions Family Law Estate Law

General Questions

How do I schedule a consult?

Just call the office and ask for a consult with Terri. Be prepared to indicate the type of case, in which county it would occur, and if the other party has already filed any paperwork with the court.

In what counties does the law firm provide services?

Primarily in Carlton and St. Louis. In certain cases, we also provide services in surrounding counties, but the client is required to pay travel time and costs.

What type of payment is accepted?

The firm accepts cash, checks and credit cards. In some cases, but not all, we will create a payment plan for clients.

Family Law

What do I need to file for divorce?

To file for divorce in the state of Minnesota you need the following:

  • You or your spouse must have lived in Minnesota for 180 days.
  • It is concluded that your relationship cannot be saved.
  • A divorce requires the other spouse to be notified of the request for a divorce, either in person or the notice can be published in the paper.

What are the different types of custody?

In Minnesota, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.

Legal Custody involves who makes decisions about how a child is educated, what type of medical care is appropriate and what type of religious/cultural upbringing will occur. Minnesota assumes that parents will share legal custody. Sole legal custody is typically only granted where there are cases of abuse or neglect or abandonment.

Physical Custody involves a child’s primary residence. Minnesota courts prefer joint physical custody as well, with a clear parenting plan for each parent.

When making decisions about custody, the court is required to look at what is in the best interest of the child.

Estate Law

What does a Will do?

A Will is a written document that allows you to determine what will happen to your home, your property and your children when you die. Most commonly and importantly, you will provide instructions for the care of your children and also name a “Personal Representative” who is responsible for managing and distributing your estate. The Personal Representative gathers your property, pays any debts and taxes out of your estate funds, and distributes your personal property to those you have named in your Will. A married person cannot disinherit a spouse without a spouse’s consent. You can disinherit a child as long as it is clear in your Will so it does not appear to be a mistake.

What do I need to create a Will?

For a Will to be valid in Minnesota, it must have the following:

  • The person must be at least 18 years of age and of “sound mind.”
  • A valid Minnesota Will must be in writing.
  • The person making a Will must sign it along with two witnesses.

My circumstances have changed. Can I change my will?

You can change your will at any time. A Will remains effective unless it is revoked or changed. We recommend a periodic review of your Will to account for new circumstances in your life such as property values, guardian change, or moving. The same circumstances of validity listed above still apply.

What happens if I don’t have a Will?

If you die without a Will, Minnesota Law determines who receives your estate property. It goes first to your spouse and children, then to siblings and parents, though there may be other legal heirs at the time of your death. If you have no surviving family, the estate would be paid to the state of Minnesota.

What is an estate?

Your estate includes anything you own such as furniture, jewelry, cars, bank accounts, investments, a business, property, real estate and other personal property. Your Will directs who will receive your cherished belongings and financial legacy.

What is probate?

Probate is a court preceding that manages and settles your estate. A Will does not necessarily mean your family will avoid Probate. There are other types of Estate Planning tools that may help avoid the necessity of Probate, including Quit Claim Deeds, Transfer on Death Deeds, Life Insurance benefits, beneficiary instruments, instruments that create a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship and Trusts.

For More Information, Contact Me To Make An Appointment

Information provided on this site does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions, you should consult with an attorney. Email or call the Port Wright Law Office at 218-451-4082 today.