MSBA Top 25 Blawg of 2011

2011 LexisNexis Top 25 Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Friday, February 21, 2014

Do You Need a New Form Power of Attorney?

As of January 1st, the Minnesota statutory short form power of attorney changed. The changes are mainly to provide notice to those acting on your behalf of their duty to act in your best interest and the limitations on their power. It also informs the person signing the power of attorney, what powers they're giving and how to revoke it if something goes wrong.

Under the new statute, the old form is no longer valid as a statutory form and should no longer be used to create a new document. However, power of attorney documents using the old form and signed before January 1st are still valid documents.

If you have questions on the powers you've granted under a signed power of attorney or want to create a power of attorney, you should meet with a licensed attorney

Monday, December 9, 2013

Waiting for a new heir... okay, doesn't sound as cute as baby.

I'll be taking December and January off from blogging for maternity leave. See you in February!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

KSTP Shows Importance of Planning

The Twin Cities ABC affiliate, KSTP did a great story on the importance of estate planning and communication between couples and generations, with help from Jody Cohen Press, a Twin Cities estate planner.

Please take a look:

Here's a top 10 to ask and to do list from KSTP and Ms. Cohen Press.

As always, meet with a licensed attorney to help make sure your estate is in order and that those you leave behind are prepared.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Holla We Want Prenup", even if you never get a divorce.

Kayne West and Kim Kardashian are reportedly preparing a prenup before their upcoming marriage.

Most outlets are emphasizing the use of prenups in protecting assets in the event of a divorce. Besides the obvious jokes about the longevity of Hollywood marriages, prenups (or more properly called, ante nuptial - "before marriage" agreement) are useful for estate planning. Your will generally can allocate assets how you wish, but spouses have a right in most states, including Minnesota to receive a minimum portion of the estate. The only way to guarantee that the surviving spouse will not invoke that right, is to have a prenup that waives the right. Prenups, particularly if there are family business assets, family farmland or other significant family assets, can keep the asset from being distributed against your wishes. You may never get a divorce, but everybody dies.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Know the Consequences of Life Estates

A life estate can be a somewhat simple way to make sure your real property easily transfers to another when you die, but you need to know what you're getting into before you sign off on the deed. Life Estates have many consequences.

First, the property is transferred and your kids have ownership rights the day you sign and deliver it. This means that your kids may have things come up, like divorces or creditors that could create a title issue on your property. For this reason, a transfer on death deed can be a better option. Second, you can’t take the property back. If you want the property free of your kids’ ownership, they need to deed back to you. Finally, transferring property of any kind may have significant gift, estate or income tax issues. A life estate may be a good idea, depending on your circumstances. However, you should meet with both an attorney and CPA to make sure you don’t get surprised later on.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pohlads in Dispute with IRS over Valuation of the Twinkies.

The IRS thinks that the Twins are worth more than the Pohlad estate claimed on Carl Pohlad's estate tax return. (Have they seen the Twins record recently? - ba dum dum)

The estate claimed the value of Carl Pohlad's interest in the Minnesota Twins at the time of his death was $24 million at the time of his death in 2009. The IRS claims it was more like  $293 million. So why the discrepancy? Are the Pohlads trying to get away with not paying their fair share? Well, it's not so clear cut.

Valuation of business interests are notoriously difficult to estimate. You can take into account the assets and liabilities of the company, but what about it's liquidity? Are the assets or business interests marketable? These questions create a whole range of good faith valuations on business interests.

This is further complicated when an individual, like Carl in 2009, owned a minority interest. The IRS recognizes that if you own say 10% of the interests in a company worth $100.00, the value of your interest is lower than $10.00 because you can't exert control over the company or its assets and the value should be discounted to reflect the minority status. But, the question of how much the asset is discounted adds another layer of uncertainty.

If you own business interests, its extremely important that you work with legal counsel to determine if you have a taxable estate and how to minimize estate taxes.

And, because I'm a Twins fan, here's my obligatory cheap shot at the Yankees... well, at least the Pohlads are paying estate tax, unlike the Steinbrenners.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Happenings at the Law Office

Is it almost August already? Whoops! This month our law office expanded to include a Chatfield office and we're preparing to set up a satellite office in Spring Valley. I've joked that it's like having one kid and then suddenly finding out you're having triplets. This all means that that I get to focus on files in the area of law I love, estate planning. This also means that July has been a whirlwind of activity. I was all set to write about controversies with the Pohlad estate (a familiar name to Minnesotans or Twins fans) this month, but plain ran out of time. See you in August, when I'll write about the Pohlads, the IRS, and valuing your estate.