Our Practice Areas

St. Paul Estate Planning And Business Blog

These three documents can be key to a well-rounded estate plan

Three documents that most people in Minnesota should consider including in their estate plan are a will, a living will and a durable power of attorney. However, one survey reports that only 18 percent of respondents age 55 and up have executed all three of these important documents. In fact, the survey reports that nearly 50 percent of respondents in this age group have not even executed a will. The silver lining, however, is that 90 percent of respondents reported being willing to discuss end-of-life issues with their loved ones.

This is good, as estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Even if you are of modest means, if you die intestate, your property will go to certain heirs determined by the state. Moreover, if you have minor children and you have not legally designated a guardian for them in your will, should the unthinkable happen and you and your child's other parent both pass away before the child is grown, the state will appoint a guardian without you ever having a say in it.

What should Minnesota business owners know about contracts?

Contracts form the backbone of many operations of a small business. Those engaged in business planning will generally enter into many contracts. Therefore, it is important that small business owners in Minnesota have a basic understanding of the elements that make up a legally valid contract. Keep in mind that this post is only a general overview of contract formation, and that readers who have specific questions regarding contract formation should consult with their attorneys.

First, contracts are formed between parties. These can be individuals or companies. For example, a project owner might form a contract with a contractor or an independent contractor might form a contract with a company. The two parties to the contract must be competent.

Real estate transactions impacted by government shutdown

The federal government shutdown has made waves in many different business sectors across the nation, including those in Minnesota. For example, real estate transactions in Minnesota are being impacted by the government shutdown, especially in rural areas. This is because lenders are unable to generate new government-guaranteed mortgages through federal programs.

For example, farmers wishing to purchase property in rural Minnesota may want to obtain financing through a Farm Service Agency loan or a new business may wish to obtain financing guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. However, these buyers cannot obtain such loans until the shutdown ends.

Will gifts made under new tax laws be 'clawed back' in 2026?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made sweeping changes to America's tax landscape. While certain changes affect those of any wealth, other changes will have a significant effect on those with large estates. People in Minnesota who have a large estate will want to pay particular attention to the new gift and estate tax exemption.

The new tax laws raised the amount of the gift and estate tax exemption to just over $11 million in 2018. This is approximately twice the amount that the exemption was previously. What this comes down to is that a person can make up to $11.18 million in gifts throughout their lifetime or as bequests in an estate plan once they die without the gifts being subjected to the 40 percent estate tax.

Estate planning when you own a business

Small business owners in Minnesota have put a lot of time and energy into their enterprise, watching it grow from a fledgling new business to a successful and fulfilling one. Of course, most business owners are consumed in the daily management of their business. They might not give much thought about what will happen should they unexpectedly pass away. However, death is unpredictable, so it is best to be prepared with the proper plan for business succession.

Of course, one can pass a business on to their heirs through a will or trust. However, there are other estate planning vehicles that can be used as part of business succession. For example, sole proprietors will want to execute a business succession plan. This includes details on the business's assets and liabilities, along with any pertinent accounts and passwords. A successor can be chosen and trained while you are still alive, and, if you want your business to be sold upon your death, you can arrange the details ahead of time.

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.

Meet The Team

Generations Of Experience

Email Us For A Response

Contact The Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Chandler and Brown, Ltd.
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W2610
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: 651-964-6087
Fax: 651-228-9237
Map & Directions

Contact Us