Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Blog
Thursday, March 3, 2016
It is a startling, though not surprising, fact that an overwhelming number of people have absolutely no documents in place to direct where their assets and estate should go upon their death. Why?
Read more . . .
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
This question comes up a lot in the frozen tundra of Minnesota where many of my estate planning clients own a home here and in a warm climate like Arizona or Florida. These "snowbirds" face the likelihood that they will be involved in a probate proceeding in each such state.
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Thursday, February 25, 2016
A Trust Amendment is a legal document that changes specific provisions of a Revocable Living Trust but leaves all of the other provisions unchanged. The key to a Revocable Living Trust is that it is revocable. So, at any time while the Trustmaker is alive and competent, then he/she can change, modify and update – as well as completely revoke – the provisions of the Trust agreement.
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Sunday, January 24, 2016
You need to keep your eye on your assets, insurance, Powers of Attorney, gifting program, distribution plan, successor trustees, beneficiaries, and so much more. That’s why it’s important that you meet with your Minnesota estate planning attorney every few years. And by "few" I mean 3 not 11!
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Minneapolis Estate Planning Lawyer Continues Her Explanation on Why You Should Resolve to Get Your Estate Plan Done in 2016
The first post in this series discussed the life events that may necessitate revising your estate plan. In this post, I explain what to look for within each document to ensure the plan still meets your needs.Read more . . .
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Are you tired of the same old New Year’s resolutions? Not inspired by promises to lose weight, start exercising and eat better? How about an original idea? One that won’t take too long and will allow you to cross a resolution off your list pretty quickly?Read more . . .
Sunday, December 27, 2015
As I discussed in Part I of this series, your parents may feel reluctant to discuss details of their estate plan. For many personal matters such as finances and health care wishes are to remain private. But, it’s important to have this discussion so long as you are operating with the proper intentions.
Read more . . .
Sunday, December 20, 2015
It is a common occurrence to have clients come to me after a parent died and say “I didn’t know XXX (fill in the blank) about my Mom or Dad.” Many parents feel reluctant to discuss financial and estate matters with their children. However, any good estate planning attorney would encourage (even urge) you to have this discussion.
Read more . . .
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
It’s difficult to believe that it’s “that time of year again.” How often do you hear that every November/December? For many, this is the time of year to spend time with family and friends. For this estate planning lawyer, the busiest time of the year is generally November through January. Why?
I believe there are two reasons: family get togethers and resolutions. Read more . . .
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Cautions Against Transferring Your Home to Kids
Most people are aware that probate should be avoided if at all possible. It is an expensive, time-consuming process that exposes your family’s private matters to the public and allows for easy challenges by others. It sounds simple enough to just give your property to your children while you are still alive. Then it's not subject to probate upon your death.
This strategy may offer some potential benefits, but those benefits are far outweighed by the risks. And with other probate-avoidance tools available, such as living trusts, it makes sense to review the risks and benefits of transferring title to your property with a qualified estate planning attorney.
- Property titled in the names of your heirs, or with your heirs as joint tenants, is not subject to probate upon your death.
- If you do not need nursing home care for the first 60 months after the transfer, but later do need such care, the property in question will not be considered for Medicaid (Medical Assistance in Minnesota) eligibility purposes.
- If you are named on the property’s title at the time of your death, creditors cannot make a claim against the property to satisfy the debt.
- Your heirs may agree to pay a portion, or all, of the property’s expenses, including taxes, insurance and maintenance.
- It may jeopardize your ability to obtain nursing home care. If you need such care within 60 months of transferring the property, you can be penalized for the gift and may not be eligible for Medical Assistance for a period of months or years, or will have to find another source to cover the expenses.
- You lose sole control over your property. Once you are no longer the legal owner, you must get approval from your children in order to sell or refinance the property.
- If your child files for bankruptcy, or gets divorced, your child’s creditors or former spouse can obtain a legal ownership interest in the property.
- If you outlive your child, the property may be transferred to your child’s heirs.
- Potential negative tax consequences: If property is transferred to your child and is later sold, capital gains tax may be due, as your child will not be able to take advantage of the IRS’s primary residence exclusion. You may also lose property tax exemptions. Finally, when the child ultimately sells the property, he or she may pay a higher capital gains tax than if the property was inherited, since inherited property enjoys a stepped-up tax basis as of the date of death.
Transferring ownership of your property to your children while you are still alive may be appropriate for your situation. However, it comes with significant risks. I generally don't recommend this strategy. If your goal is to avoid probate, maximize tax benefits and provide for the seamless transfer of your property upon your death, a living trust is likely a far better option.
Contact the firm now so we can discuss your options
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney Urges You to Help Your Parents Put a Plan in Place
I live the practice of estate planning because I enjoy helping people. All people. I specialize in the “overlooked” because, well, these individuals and families are overlooked by society and need a fierce advocate on their side. Another specialty area that I have incorporated into my practice is that of elderly care and protection. All too often in America the elderly are left to their own devices as they battle illness and/or dementia. In Minnesota, the majority of seniors who need care receive it from a family member. The family needs help knowing what to do for their loved one. This is where I come in…
Currently, close to 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. In the earliest stages of this illness it is difficult to impose upon your parent(s) the type of measures that will protect them wholly from financial scams or to remove their financial decision-making privileges. The desire to preserve your parent’s dignity and self-respect may make you decide to “stand down” in the beginning. They are your parents, after all. You don't want to take their cards or checkbooks away as though they were children. This desire to be kind and respectful can unfortunately have serious repercussions to their finances. In these earliest of stages there is a middle-ground, legally-speaking, that you can work with so that your parents still have autonomy but you can rest easy knowing that should something happen you will be informed in time to mitigate the damage.
My firm can work with you to provide your family with financial safeguards. Elderly care, especially when it comes to financial management, is a very important part of my practice area. I routinely work with families to create a Power of Attorney so that children can assume care of their elderly parent, or even to provide this decision making tool to a spouse, sibling or adult child who is better able to handle the financial obligations.
Call me today if you are at that point where you need to begin to help make decisions for a parent, or if you are beginning to see a need to plan ahead for your own financial future. I can walk you through all of the options available to you to protect you or your loved one’s finances in the days ahead.
From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.