Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Everyone has an estate. Even if you have a very modest estate—it could be as simple as a bank account—you still need a plan. You still need several very important documents to avoid the need for a guardianship or conservatorship should something – such as an accident– happen to you so you are unable to take care of things yourself. In a nutshell, an estate plan is the creation of a plan for managing your assets while you are alive and distributing them after your death.
The primary objectives of an estate plan include the following:
1.) Ensuring that your assets will provide you with the income and resources on which to live comfortably.
2.) Ensuring that upon your death your assets will go to the people and/or organizations you wish.
3.) Minimizing estate taxes, fees and other costs.
4.) Designating the best person(s) to make financial and/or health care decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated.
An estate plan is a basic set of documents that helps us plan for life’s certainties. The phrase “estate plan” sounds like a complicated set of things that only very wealthy people need. But in reality it refers to the critically important documents that almost everyone needs, whether our financial and familial affairs are simple or complex. All of the documents that comprise an estate plan help us avoid problems that often arise upon death. Many of these are problems are things we never think about during life, or things which may be so troubling or overwhelming that we push out of our minds. However, in the absence of a solid estate plan, these issues- if they arise- will have to be resolved by the courts and state law.
A properly-prepared estate plan lets each of us decide for ourselves the best choice for our own families (such as who should care for my minor children, who should receive my property, which charitable organizations should receive a share of my assets, and who should wind up my affairs). But if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Let’s talk about all the benefits of getting a plan started right now! A properly crafted estate plan provides the best means to ensure that we pass our hard-earned wealth to our descendants with a minimum of cost (both emotional and financial). Your estate plan will also give you peace of mind knowing that all of your affairs are in order. Your will allows you to appoint the guardian of your choice for minor children if both parents die. Your will can also specify how your property should be divided and apportioned, and it can help avoid any taxes that may be due upon your death. An advanced health care directive and durable power of attorney effectuate many of these same goals during a person’s life. No one wants give birth to and foster the growth of a beautiful family only to see that family fight over property and possessions when they are gone! To prevent this, you need a professional estate plan tailor-made to your unique requirements and specifications.
“Elder law” is an umbrella term that refers to legal issues we all confront as we age. We will all face estate planning, retirement planning and its tax implications, healthcare issues and the requirements for Medicare or Medicaid, and guardianships and conservatorships, as we age. Despite its name, people should start understanding elder law issues and planning well before retirement age. Planning is even more urgent for someone with elderly family members who are disabled or have special needs.
Berglund Law Office can help your family navigate the complex and confusing maze of rules and regulations we all face on this journey. We help families with planning for the future when one family member is faced with new challenges resulting from aging and/or disability including the following:
• Advice concerning medical assistance;
• Advice concerning disability or long-term care planning;
• Advice concerning asset protection and the “spend down”;
• Advice concerning the “Elderly Waiver” and asset transfers;
• Advice concerning personal care service contracts;
• Advice concerning powers of attorney and health care directives.
Everyone must know the “ins and outs” of “Medicaid” or Medical Assistance. Medicaid– known as Medical Assistance in Minnesota– is a combined federal and state program designed to provide financial assistance to those in need for their medical and long-term-care expenses. It is the only government program that will pay for long-term nursing home care. The rules that establish qualification for Medicaid/Medical Assistance are very complex and change frequently. It is imperative that you speak with a qualified elder law attorney before taking any actions that might cause problems for you and your family. Many actions concerning Medicaid/ Medical Assistance can also have family relationship, tax, and legal ramifications that must be considered.
Berglund Law Office provides real estate counsel to Twin Cities residents including the following services:
Berglund Law Office has decades of experience helping clients successfully work through real estate transactions. Commercial and residential real estate ownership can be complicated. Liens, zoning problems, easements, inspections and other legal requirements can arise at any point along the way. Anyone contemplating the sale or purchase of real estate needs to know their legal duties and obligations, whether it will be a personal or business transaction.
We can address legal issues arising from the purchase, sale, or management of property in Minnesota. Requirements for purchase or sale, compliance with federal or state housing regulations and zoning rules, inspections, title searches, financing and other matters require the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
Today’s business world has grown increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. State and federal regulations and recent caselaw continue to make setting up and operating a business more challenging than ever. Every small business owner is faced with an ever-expanding array of hurdled from the outset including the choice of business entity, necessary agreements, financing arrangements, compliance and human resources issues and much more. Business owners often require guidance relating to the purchase or sale of a business, buy-sell agreements, regulatory compliance, and business succession planning. Each of these matters requires experienced legal counsel to navigate the myriad of issues and challenges to keep your company operating smoothly.
Berglund Law Office has represented many local businesses and members of the business community for decades. Sound business and legal advice can be priceless when faced with the complexity of today’s business environment.
If you are considering starting your own business, you need to know that the State of Minnesota has a number of different options for you in forming your business at the outset. The process begins with preparation of your business formation documents and filing these documents with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office. Berglund Law Office can assist you in deciding on your choice of entity, preparing the necessary business formation documents and filing with the State of Minnesota.
In Minnesota, the most common business entities used include the following:
Minnesota also allows a number of other choices of business entity including the following:
Small businesses owners need to take precautions from the outset to make sure that their personal assets will not be exposed as a result of their business operations. Business owners need to make informed decisions about their choice of business entity and agreements utilized (i.e. operating agreements, bylaws, etc.) to protect their personal assets from liabilities incurred by their businesses. Experienced legal guidance can help you take the necessary steps to achieve this protection.
The proper choice of business entity can protect your personal assets so that only the business assets will be available to creditors. A number of options are available to businesses with multiple locations and multiple sources of revenue, including forming multiple entities, wholly owned subsidiaries, and certain types of trusts.
Today it is estimated that over 50% of all marriages end up in divorce. Divorce is never easy. Everyone suffers– the spouses, their children and even their friends and relatives. Once couples have exhausted all alternatives, most just want to get through the dissolution process. Once the legal proceedings are completed, the couple can begin the healing process and – hopefully- move forward peacefully and amicably. To achieve this desired result, it is helpful to have legal representation that helps you make informed choices and decisions about your future and your family.
Among the numerous issues to be are the division of marital property, including real estate, personal effects, investments, and retirement funds. Also important are issues of child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal maintenance. The financial burden of suddenly having to maintain two households instead of just one and whether the family home should be sold are also critical issues. If the parties executed a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage it also needs to be considered. “Prenups” are primarily used to protect assets acquired or inherited before marriage, but they can also protect assets acquired or inherited after the marriage. In some cases, both parties to the prenup have been married previously, and want to make sure their respective estates pass to their children from a previous marriage (rather than their current spouse) in the event that they die or file for dissolution of their new marriage.
Berglund Law Office is available to discuss your options and alternatives. We take the time to listen to your concerns and provide informed feedback. Together, we can work hard to devise a strategy to help you achieve the best outcome. We like to “think outside the box” to help you and your spouse arrive at a “win-win” solution. We know that even the most amicable divorces are stressful. Husbands, wives and children are suddenly faced with big changes and the future can seem uncertain and frightening. Whenever possible, we encourage clients to explore settlement rather than pursue the more expensive and risky adversarial approach. However, where settlement proves to be elusive we are fully prepared to litigate. We pride ourselves in educating our clients about the key issues and make sure they understand the long-term consequences of their decisions. We are strong supporters of divorce mediation and collaborative practice, knowing that these techniques can often save time and money and reduce conflict. Most important, we understand that every case is unique. We take the time to learn about you and your family so we can provide you with legal counsel and advocacy customized to your unique situation.