Trustee Duties Part 3: Independence and Impartiality

January 21, 2011

The duty of independence requires that the trustee remain independent from and impartial to the various beneficiaries. Bogert’s Trusts and Trustees explains, “A trustee who holds for successive beneficiaries owes a duty to them to administer the trust with impartial consideration for the interests of all the beneficiaries. He [or she] should not unnecessarily show […]

Naming a Guardian

January 17, 2011

Naming a Guardian for your minor child(ren) is a difficult task. There is no perfect choice because there is no second you.  However, it must be done. The alternate to you naming a Guardian is a judge, who does not know you, your children, or the guardian options, making the choice for you. WHO TO […]

Grieving in the Age of Facebook

January 14, 2011

This past year a college friend passed away. I realized that this was the closest and most poignant death I faced since joining Facebook and realized that this social media outlet has changed the process of grieving.

“Lame Duck” Session is Anything But…

January 9, 2011

As 2010 came to a close, the professional advisor community felt continued uncertainty about the estate tax come back amidst year-long congressional inaction; however, after a brief battle and a valiant show of bi-partisanship in both the Senate and the House, President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of […]

Requirements for a Valid Health Care Directive

January 6, 2011

As many of you Epilawg readers know, we provide a free Health Care Directive form on this site for Minnesota residents. We’ve heard from some of you that you’re (pleasantly) surprised about the form. Many believe that you need an attorney to complete a Health Care Directive in Minnesota, which is not true. An attorney […]

Trustee Duties Part 2: Follow the Trust Instrument

January 2, 2011

The duty to follow the written trust instrument is fundamental to a successful trusteeship. This duty requires a trustee to, “carry out the directions of the testator or the settlor as expressed in the terms of the trust.”[1] If a trustee’s actions are questioned, a court will look to the trust instrument when assessing whether a trustee […]

Citizenship Impacts Estate Taxes

January 1, 2011

Are you and your spouse both U.S. citizens?  If not, the foreign citizenship of you and/or your spouse may have a surprising estate tax impact. THE MARITAL DEDUCTION If an individual’s estate exceeds the estate tax exemption amount ($1 million for federal and Minnesota estate taxes in 2011, if no Congressional action), he or she […]

Medical Assistance Basics For Minnesotans

December 30, 2010

Medical Assistance (“MA”) is Minnesota’s Medicaid program* that is funded by state and federal dollars. MA is an extremely complex area of the law and one that gives many individuals great pause when thinking about his or her future and the aging process. Eligibility Requirements An individual’s eligibility for MA is based on several factors. […]

Informal vs. Formal Probate Proceedings

December 27, 2010

Informal Probate In Minnesota, an informal probate proceeding is relatively straightforward and simple, as compared to Formal Probate. Informal Probate can be used for both testate and intestate estates. Informal commencement of a decedent’s estate is made by Application to a probate registrar, not a judge. Since there is no formal hearing, it is important that […]

Basis primer: Step-up vs. Carry-over

December 25, 2010

“Basis” is not something that is simple to explain these days. Up until last week, the basis rules that apply to decedents in 2010 were in limbo. This article WILL NOT cover the advanced estate planning issue of basis allocations in 2010 and how they relate to the federal estate tax. Instead, this is an […]

Fido’s Fate

December 20, 2010

“Man’s best friend” Ironically, the phrase “man’s best friend” was coined by an attorney. In 1869, a man’s dog was shot and killed by his neighbor; he hired three attorneys to sue the man who shot his dog.  One of the three attorneys used the phrase “man’s best friend” during his closing argument to the […]