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How can pour-over wills be made part of trust planning?

Estate planning may seem simple at first, but, if one wishes to take full advantage of the opportunity to bypass probate and pass their assets on to their chosen heirs, it is important to execute the right documents. An incomplete estate plan that does not have the necessary wills and trusts may not accomplish what a person wants it to. For example, if a person in Minnesota wishes to not have their estate probated, not only might they execute a trust, but they may also execute a pour-over will to complement that trust and ensure all their bases are covered.

Through a pour-over will, the assets a person has left when they pass away will automatically be transferred into a trust that the person set up while they were still alive. This way, a person can avoid having these assets probated, since trust assets are distributed directly to the beneficiaries of the trust. This makes a pour-over will an attractive option for many.

Minnesota winery can become operational due to zoning changes

Wineries are becoming popular venues for tourists and residents of Minnesota alike. People enjoy seeing how wine is made, and many wineries offer tastings where patrons can sample the various wines. One new winery was built south of Brainerd, Minnesota, in 2016 and intended to open its doors in 2017.

The Dennis Drummond Wine Co. opened its doors in Crow Wing County, but zoning issues prohibited the winery from exercising its intended operations. Specifically, the winery was not permitted to make wine on its premises. Under Minnesota law, to make wine, one must be licensed to do so in an agricultural/forestry district, which the winery was not built on.

Business planning is a complex legal endeavor

Entrepreneurs from Saint Paul may have a great idea for a small business, but it takes more than just a good idea -- there are many legal aspects to running a business. From choosing a business entity that shields you from liability, to drafting restriction agreements and contracts, to undergoing possible mergers or acquisitions and finally to planning for the next generation of owners, running a business is a complex endeavor from beginning to end.

Mistakes made during the lifetime of the business can be costly. If the wrong business entity is chosen, a business owner may be liable for the debts of the business or there could be unfavorable tax consequences. If contracts are improperly drafted or are vague, they could be challenged in court. Mergers and acquisitions are complex legal transactions that could fall through if not properly handled. Finally, without a detailed succession plan, there could be disputes as to who should own and run the business once you decide to pass it on.

A merger and acquisition can be part of a strong business plan

Business owners in Saint Paul may one day face the prospect of entering into a merger or acquisition. In general, this business planning strategy involves consolidating two businesses into a single entity via a number of types of transactions. In a merger, the acquired business no longer exists; only the acquiring business remains. In an acquisition, which might also be referred to as a takeover, the acquiring business obtains a majority stake in the other business, but neither business alters their names and organizational structures. These days, business restructurings are often simply called a "merger and acquisition" rather than one or the other, because true mergers of equals are not very common, and takeovers are often seen in a negative light.

In either case, the point of undergoing a merger and acquisition is to make each business more valuable than it was prior to the merger and acquisition. Companies can use a merger and acquisition to grow bigger than their competitors. One company may also pursue a merger and acquisition of another company, to secure its value before a competitor does. Mergers and acquisitions can have tax benefits, depending on the circumstances and through consolidation, companies can save money.

Estate planning continues after your spouse passes away

Many married couples in Minnesota may have executed a will, trust or other documents as part of their estate plans. However, these plans should be reviewed and updated after key life events. One of these events is the death of one of the spouses. When this happens, the surviving spouse should make sure their estate plan still meets their wishes.

First, a surviving spouse should review their durable power of attorney. This is the document that states who is to make financial decisions should the spouse become incapacitated. If the person selected to fulfill that role was one's now-deceased spouse, the surviving spouse will have to name someone else in their power of attorney.

Is there a state-level estate tax in Minnesota?

When a person dies, their loved ones may not initially think of all the financial logistics they now face. This goes beyond simply paying for funeral costs and distributing assets per a person's will or trust. It also includes possibly paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. The threshold for who must pay federal estate taxes is high, so many people will not have to worry about this tax. However, they should know that some states levy estate taxes. Minnesota is one of these states.

Minnesota does have an estate tax. This is a tax on the value of the deceased's property before the property is distributed to the deceased's heirs. This tax is paid out of estate assets. Depending on state requirements, this tax may be paid to the IRS or to the state where the deceased resided. The threshold for who must pay state estate taxes is often not the same as the threshold for who must pay federal estate taxes.

Struggling homeowners may consider a deed in lieu of foreclosure

Facing a foreclosure can be a distressing experience for any Minnesota homeowner. After all, those facing foreclosure are often dealing with other financial difficulties in their lives. With foreclosure looming, not only may they lose their home, but their credit score may also take a serious hit. This could make it more difficult for them to find housing once the foreclosure process is completed, which will only exacerbate their financial problems.

However, there is one alternative to foreclosure that one might consider, especially if it is highly unlikely that they'll ever be able to catch up on their past due mortgage payments. That alternative is a deed in lieu of foreclosure. A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a legal document that essentially transfers title of the home from the homeowner back to the lender.

Wills and trusts can benefit people of any age and any wealth

Minnesota residents may have been saddened to learn of the death of Aretha Franklin, the music superstar behind such hits as "Respect" and "Think." However, they may want to avoid making one mistake Franklin did: failing to execute a will or trust. This is because if one dies without a will or trust, their estate will go through the public probate process, leading to a result that may not be of their liking.

If you die without an estate plan, the proceeds of your estate will be distributed to your survivors per state intestate succession laws. This is significant, as it means a person could end up inheriting some or all of your estate, even if that is not what you would have chosen. And, should you have no surviving heirs, the proceeds of your estate will simply go to the state, a result most people would not want.

Young parents in Minnesota should execute an estate plan

When young adults in Minnesota think of estate planning, they may envision themselves executing a will or trust after they have reached an old age and have accumulated a lifetime of assets to pass on to their heirs. Some may have even given thought to what end-of-life care they want through a health care proxy, and who they want making decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated. However, estate planning isn't just for the old. Even young adults can benefit from executing a comprehensive estate plan. New parents especially should take into account one aspect of estate planning: naming a legal guardian and trustee for their child.

It's not a pleasant topic, but new parents should keep in mind the possibility that they might both pass away before their child is a legal adult. To prepare for this possibility, they can decide on a guardian who will have custody of their child in such situations and a trustee that will manage the child's financial affairs.

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St. Paul, MN 55101

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