Archive for May 28, 2012

Second Marriage? Don’t Forget the Trust & the Pre-Nup & the Retirement Plan Waiver

Adults entering second marriages, but having children from a first marriage, should have a pre-nuptial agreement, a trust, and a qualified retirement plan waiver. Relying on a trust alone may not work because the new spouse could challenge the trust under Minnesota law. And, the only way that a new spouse can be waived as the beneficiary of a “qualified retirement plan” is if the new spouse does the waiving.  » Read more..

Don’t Let Titling and Beneficiary Designation Mistakes Spoil Your Estate Plan

Your best-laid plans for the distribution of your wealth at your death may go badly awry if you stumble with the titling of your assets and/or designation of beneficiaries.

For various types of assets, your beneficiary designations trump any language in your will or trust. Meanwhile, your trust is worthless if there is nothing in it. To make things even more confusing, assets that are “jointly held with right of survivorship” transfer outside your will and trust to the other joint holders of the asset. » Read more..

Death Means Tax Talk Galore. Oh My!

Most of us are familiar with income taxes and property taxes, but death triggers the discussion of a jungle of other taxes: estate taxes, inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes and gift taxes. What’s the difference? » Read more..

Incapacity Planning for the Day We Need Help

Sooner or later, we change from taking on the world to needing others to take care of us. In medical and legal terms, this period is referred to as “incapacity” – and it can be a temporary or permanent condition. Incapacity, in which we are either mentally or physically unable to take care of ourselves or manage our routine affairs, can be triggered by illness, advancing age, serious physical injury, drug abuse or alcohol abuse.

Most adults have two goals in planning for potential incapacity – 1) avoid guardianship and/or conservatorship, which are court controlled, and are expensive in terms of time, money and emotions; and 2) keep control among our family members. Control is focused on two key areas – control of the person and control of property. Guardianship relates to control over the person whereas conservatorship focuses on control of money and property. Three legal documents are particularly helpful in achieving those goals – a revocable trust, a Minnesota durable power of attorney and a Minnesota health care directive. » Read more..