The Case Against Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans

Jayme Kruse / August 24, 2017
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“D.I.Y.” You probably see that acronym often. It stands for “Do-It-Yourself” and is often used when discussing home repairs, decorating projects, or gift ideas. For example, if I need to fix a small chip in the paint on my wall, I may try to do it myself instead of hiring a painter to do it […]

Half-Siblings and Intestate Succession

Autumn Gear / August 22, 2017
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Ongoing changes to family structures in modern society have increased the occurrence of half-blood survivors of decedents.  When a decedent dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate.”  Each state has enacted intestate-succession laws, which provide rules for the distribution of assets in the absence of a will.  These intestacy laws dictate […]

Diminished Capacity and Estate Planning: The First Client Meeting

Courtney Sebo / August 16, 2017
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In my first Epilawg installment, I wrote on the estate-planning needs of people with diminished capacity.  This blog post will dive into the discussion that takes place at a first meeting with a client. People with diminished capacity will nearly always come to the meeting accompanied by a spouse, child, or loved one.  This is […]

Please: get the correct acknowledgement if you want to deduct that property contribution

Robert Lynn / June 30, 2016
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“Close” counts with horseshoes and hand grenades. Unfortunately, it doesn’t count for entitlement to deduct a charitable contribution, once the amount claimed exceeds a trigger point. When that happens, the taxpayer’s own records – no matter how convincing – won’t suffice. There has to be an acknowledgement from the charity itself that follows the law […]

MN Animal Lovers – Rejoice!

Jennifer Santini / June 3, 2016
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Until recently, Minnesota was one of the few remaining states that did not allow for a trust to be created for the benefit of animal. However, this past legislative session H.F. No. 1372 was signed into law by Governor Dayton, which includes the statute to allow for the creation of a “pet trust.” Under Minn. […]

Prince Leaves a Complex, Unplanned Estate

Manish Bhatia / May 4, 2016
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Unfortunately, too many recent newsletters have focused on the death of musical legends. This month left us with another untimely death. Prince, whose legal name was Prince Rogers Nelson, died on April 21st at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. As unbelievable as it may seem, according to his sister, Tyka […]

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Using a Testamentary Letter to Explain Your Estate Plan

Robert Lynn / January 20, 2016
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Your estate plan likely includes formal documents (a will, perhaps one or more trusts) that direct transfers of your property when you die. But those documents won’t identify each and every item to be transferred. Eventually, whoever settles your affairs will find a sentence in one of your documents such as “I leave the rest […]

The Right Way to Inherit

Manish Bhatia / December 20, 2015
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While an inheritance is often considered a gift by the recipient, from a tax perspective, there optimal ways to inherit a retirement account. From the language used to designate the beneficiaries to important IRS-imposed deadlines, the manner in which a retirement account is inherited can significantly affect its value. If you are the beneficiary of […]

What You Need To Know About The MN Trust Code For Drafters Part III: Limitation on Action Contesting Validity of Revocable Trust

Jennifer Santini / December 8, 2015
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Often when people set up their estate plan they will ask the attorney “Can someone challenge this?” Truthfully, anyone can try to challenge a person’s estate plan – the bigger question is whether that person would be successful in his or her challenge. Even if the testator attempts to prohibit someone from challenging his or […]

Year-End Estate Planning To-Do List

Manish Bhatia / December 5, 2015
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The end of the year is an ideal time to review your current estate plan and confirm that you are taking advantage of all planning opportunities available to you. This includes not only tax planning, but also asset protection, probate avoidance, beneficiary designations and changes in your family and financial situations. On the other hand, […]

Living as if it was your last year

Jennifer Santini / November 17, 2015
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Recently I read about a course that is offered by New York’s Zen Center for Contemplative Care called “How To Live This Year As If It Were Your Last.” The course is led by two Buddhist monks, who inform the students on the first day of class that they have nine months to live. For […]