Spectrum of Withdrawal Limitations


February 26, 2016
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The phrase “control from the grave” is often used to describe withdrawal limitations on an individual’s inheritance.  These provisions direct or require a beneficiary to reach certain benchmarks before a trustee can permit a withdrawal.  While some grantors (the creator of the trust) may be motivated by control, simpler withdrawal limitations can provide significant asset […]

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Using a Testamentary Letter to Explain Your Estate Plan


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 Missing Will


January 11, 2016
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The Missing Will Do you know where your original Will is located? You should, and so should your executor. The dilemma of a missing original Will has come up in the death of Melissa Mathison, screenwriter of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and ex-wife of Harrison Ford. Mathison died on November 4th as a resident of […]

The Right Way to Inherit


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


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


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, […]

Lamar, Khloe & the Urgency of Estate Planning


November 14, 2015
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Former NBA and reality TV star, Lamar Odom, was found unconscious on October 13, 2015, and remains hospitalized in Los Angeles. Odom and his wife, Khloe Kardashian, had been separated for years and were in the middle of a divorce that had not been finalized, allowing his estranged wife to serve as his health care […]

Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Filings in Minnesota for Estates and Trusts Professionals


October 14, 2015
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As a freelance probate and estate planning legal assistant/paralegal (call me what you like) I work with a lot of real estate documents.  Most commonly I’m involved in preparing and recording… Quit Claim Deeds transferring property into a trust; Deeds of Distribution distributing property out of an estate; Trustee’s Deeds (along with an accompanying Certificate […]

An Introduction to Trusteed IRAs


June 8, 2015
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An individual retirement account (IRA) is typically established in one of two ways. As a custodial account, where the bank or financial institution is simply acting as a fiduciary and must follow the directions of the account owner (including the instruction to cash out the entire balance). An IRA can also be held in trust (the […]