Intestate succession for a blended family

November 18, 2014

A married couple, of which each spouse has children from previous relationships, faces certain issues with regard to distribution of their estates. The most basic of these issues involves what happens if a spouse dies without a will. When any individual dies without a will, the statutory rules for the intestate succession dictate the distribution of […]

5 Lessons from Kindergarten to Ease Estate Administrations

October 7, 2014

Unfortunately no matter how close a family might seem, it always has the potential to endure disputes between members either during everyone’s lifetimes or after someone has passed away. The fights can get ugly and feelings can get hurt. But often the disputes could have easily been avoided, or resolved, if individuals remembered the lessons […]

What are a surviving spouse’s debt obligations?

September 11, 2014

Awhile back, an article in the Star Tribune discussed the egregious practices used by some credit card companies and banks to collect debts owed by deceased persons, often targeting surviving family members who may or may not have a legal obligation to pay.

The Constant Fear of “Rejection” When Drafting Real Estate Deeds

June 25, 2014

When drafting real estate deeds (even though the Minnesota Uniform Conveyancing Blanks forms look relatively simple) there are several statutory-specific rules that inevitably lead to the return of your deed with a “rejection letter” from the county recorder. Here are some of the common mistakes made when drafting real estate deeds: Marital Status Omitted You […]

Estate Planning Myth #6: I must avoid probate

April 24, 2014

This issue varies significantly based upon where you live. In Minnesota, unlike some other jurisdictions, the probate avoidance opportunity doesn’t always rise to the level of necessity. The benefits of avoiding probate include: not incurring the time delay, avoiding the expense of court filing fees or attorney’s fees for opening the probate and administering the […]

Organizing Your Accounts and Passwords

March 5, 2014

I emphasize to all of my estate planning clients the importance of keeping track of your assets, what they are, where they are located, etc. The reason: a Will or Trust instructs your Personal Representative or Trustee on how you want your assets to be distributed after your death, but not always what those assets […]

Seeking Review of a Probate Referee’s Order

February 27, 2014

This post is mainly intended for Minnesota probate attorneys, however, we hope that all readers learn from it. – See more at: Epilawg editors note: This post is mainly intended for Minnesota probate attorneys, however, we hope that all readers can learn from it. If you believe that the only recourse available with respect […]

Claims to Allow & Disallow During a Probate

December 26, 2013

Personal Representatives have many duties to a decedent’s estate. Previously, Jayne Sykora discussed how a Personal Representative is selected and what their duties consist of in “So You’re a Personal Representative. Now What?” and “What Happens to Debt at Death”. One such duty is determining which creditor claims to allow and disallow and this post […]

Estate denied property tax refund

December 19, 2013

The tax code is riddle with nuances. Some of these nuances are beneficial to clients, others can be frustrating. Recently, I had an estate administration client come to me with a letter from the Minnesota Department of Revenue stating that a decedent’s property tax credit was being adjusted to $0.00. Unfortunately, the letter failed to site […]

Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Estate Planning Instruments

December 16, 2013

In May 2013, the Texas Supreme Court enforced a mandatory arbitration provision within a trust instrument in Rachal v. Reitz.  Since then, a number of legal commentators have suggested that there is a growing trend towards the recognition of such provisions in the probate context.  The issue is far from settled, however, and the underlying […]

Minnesota E-filing: How to Survive

December 4, 2013

This post is mainly intended for Minnesota probate attorneys, however, we hope that all readers learn from it. The day of the electronic court record has come to Minnesota. Unfortunately, the path to e-filing feels like the road less traveled. The revolutionary movement of the state court’s transition to e-filing has come with its challenges. […]