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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.

What are some options for transferring ownership of a business?

There may come a time when a small business owner in Saint Paul will need to hand the reins over to another individual or entity. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are several options for transferring ownership of a business.

One way to transfer ownership of a business is through an outright sale. The advantage of selling your business in full is that the transfer of ownership takes place immediately and the former business owner is paid at once. Some people may choose this transfer of ownership if they are financially unable to keep running their business. An attorney can assist in an outright sale by ensuring that all necessary regulations are followed, as well as advise on tax matters and fulfilling any existing contracts.

Federal law recognizes certain estate tax deductions

As the saying goes, two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. Sometimes, these two things intertwine. In 2018, if a U.S. citizen dies leaving an estate worth $11,180,000 or more, they may need to file an estate tax return. While this may not affect many people in Minnesota and elsewhere, those who are subjected to the federal estate tax likely do not want to see the size of their estate reduced, as it means there will be less left to their heirs. They may wonder if there are any deductions they may use to reduce the amount they will owe in federal estate taxes.

As it turns out, the Internal Revenue Service recognizes several deductions a person may use to reduce the amount they must pay in estate taxes. One of these deductions is the marital deduction. All assets of the gross estate that pass on "outright" to a surviving spouse may be deducted. In addition, there is the charitable deduction. If the decedent leaves assets to certain qualifying charities, they may deduct these contributions from their gross estate.

Don't navigate hiccups in real estate transactions alone

Summer is a popular time to buy and sell a home in Minnesota. Those looking to buy or sell a home may think that they can handle the matter on their own. However, complications could arise during the process that they might never have expected and are totally unable to deal with. These oversights can be costly.

Therefore, those looking to buy or sell a home this summer may want to consider seeking the advice of an attorney who handles real estate matters. The professionals at Chandler and Brown Ltd. aim to make their clients' real estate transactions run efficiently and effectively. They are experienced in assisting their clients in executing purchase and sales contracts, reviewing easements to determine who has the right to use the property and protecting their clients' interests at closing.

How can one avoid feuds between heirs regarding the family cabin?

Many Minnesotans are fortunate to own a cabin on a lake or in the North Woods where they can spend their weekends and vacations. A break from the rat-race can certainly be relaxing, and the family cabin is often just the place to do that.

Most people on vacation aren't necessarily thinking about estate planning. However, when their vacation time is over and they return to their day-to-day lives, it can pay to develop a comprehensive estate plan. People may already have executed a trust or will that states what is to be done with their assets upon their death. However, when it comes to the family cabin, being detailed can be key.

Estate planning with probate in mind

"Probate" may be an unwelcome term to those who have designed their estate plans specifically to avoid it. However, many people in Minnesota may have very limited experience with the probate process. Therefore, it is good to have a basic understanding of probate. This way, a person can design an estate plan that takes probate into account, and should one be chosen to administer a probated estate, they may be able to anticipate what duties this entails.

When a person passes away, with some exceptions, their estate will go through "probate." Probate is simply the procedure undergone to determine whether the deceased's will is legally valid. It also lays out the rules the executor of the estate should follow when winding up the deceased's estate. If a person died without executing a will or trust, then an executor of the estate will be named through probate and the deceased's assets will be distributed. In either case, the executor of an estate has numerous duties.

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Chandler and Brown, Ltd.
332 Minnesota Street
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St. Paul, MN 55101

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