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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 Missing Will

Manish Bhatia / 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 […]

Inflation Adjustments for Estate and Gift Tax Annual Exclusion Amounts

Jamie Held / January 10, 2016
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In case you missed Internal Revenue Bulletin 2015-44, the 2016 inflation adjustments pertaining to estate planning are as follows: The gift tax annual exclusion remains at $14,000 for gifts made in 2016. The generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption is $5,450,000 for transfers made in 2016. The unified estate and gift tax exclusion amount is $5,450,000 for gifts […]

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 […]

Excluded Assets for Medical Assistance: Burial Space and Burial Space Items

Jill Sauber / December 10, 2015
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This article focuses on burial spaces, burial space items, and irrevocable insurance-funded burial agreements. There are various types of burial agreements, but only one type of burial agreement is discussed below because of the potential to exclude the entire amount for MA purposes if it is properly written. Medical Assistance (MA) is a means-tested program […]

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, […]

Excluded Assets for Medical Assistance: Homestead

Jill Sauber / December 3, 2015
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In Minnesota, it is important to know which assets are excluded for Medicaid/Medical Assistance (MA) eligibility purposes when contemplating MA Long-Term Care benefits for individuals who are 65 years of age or older, blind, or disabled. This article focuses on excluded assets for MA eligibility purposes, and will not detail income requirements, asset allowances for […]

What You Need To Know About The MN Trust Code For Drafters Part II: Default & Mandatory Rules

Jennifer Santini / December 1, 2015
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A trust instrument, under the new Minnesota Trust Code (“MN Trust Code”) in Minn. Chapter 501C, can be drafted* in a multitude of manners to convey the settlor’s intentions. The terms of the trust instrument can be drafted contrary to certain provisions in the MN Trust Code. Such terms of the trust instrument will govern […]

What You Need To Know About The MN Trust Code For Drafters Part I: The Basics

Jennifer Santini / November 24, 2015
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It has been mentioned here on Epilawg a few times already that Minnesota adopted a new trust statute. The specifics of the Minnesota Trust Code can be found in Minn. Ch. 501C (“MN Trust Code”) and has come to fruition by the countless hours and effort of a committee of local trusts and estates attorneys. […]

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 […]

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