Real Estate – Selling or Buying?

Business LawToday’s free legal seminar topic was Selling or Buying Real Estate.  Topics on the agenda were Purchase Agreements, Disclosures, Mortgages, Contracts for Deed and Title. Whether you are buying or selling, residential or commercial property, you need to get your “ducks in a row” before proceeding on such a major financial transaction.  For most individuals, buying a home is the largest purchase in a lifetime, worth investing in legal advice to steer clear of all the potential obstacles and legal hazards.  The best time to get legal advice is before you sign the Purchase Agreement.  Once signed, there is often not much an attorney can do to fix mistakes.  Oftentimes the major work done on a real estate transaction is either drafting or reviewing and revising a proposed Purchase Agreement.  That establishes the terms of the deal and unless some other issues arise, it may not be necessary to have an attorney at the Closing.  All Closing documents can be reviewed ahead of time by the attorney, who can be available by phone during the closing should questions come up.  The bottom line – know what you’re doing when selling or buying real estate.

Free Seminar Tomorrow On Basics of A Personal Injury Case

Personal InjuryThe basics of a personal injury case will be the topic of tomorrow’s free legal seminar at Anderson Legal, from dog bites to medical malpractice cases.  Anderson Legal has has actually had both types of cases.  There are certain structural issues which are similar across this wide range of injuries, and of course, many differences.  Learn how to spot common legal issues which arise in every day life and get tips on what to do if you are injured.  Anderson Legal collaborates with many different legal experts on cases such as this, and has access to specialized attorneys all across Minnesota and Wisconsin.  In one case which settled last year the award was over $1.5 million dollars.  Others range widely from over $100,000 to smaller settlements.  If you wonder if you have a viable legal claim, it is always smart to get your situation reviewed and analyzed.  Unless you reach out for legal opinions, you may never know.  There are strict Statutes of Limitations which apply to claims, where your case may be forever barred even if it is a good case, so don’t wait or you could lose your legal rights to a recovery.  Spots are still available for tomorrow’s session, so RSVP to Attorney Jeanne M. Anderson at 651-439-1389 or by an email to jeannemanderson@stillwater-attorney.com.  The free seminar is from 11:00 a.m. to 12 Noon at 226 Myrtle Street East, Stillwater, MN  55082 at the Anderson Legal Conference Room.

Revocable Trusts As A Will Substitute Discussed Today

Wills & TrustsAt today’s free legal seminar, there was quite a bit of discussion about using a Revocable Trust as a Will substitute.  Some of the reasons clients prefer a Revocable Trust were covered.  A top reason for choosing a Revocable Trust is when you own real estate in more than one State, to avoid your family having to go through multiple Probate proceedings in different State.  Another key reason to prefer a Revocable Trust over a Will is privacy.  Since the Trust is a private family agreement, you do not need to file it with the County or provide a public record of an inventory of your assets.  The general public does not have access to your Trust, unless there is a lawsuit involving it.  One person described her Trust as her “love box” because she has organized everything in advance for her children so they will know exactly what to do and how to carry out her wishes when she dies.  Planning your estate is truly a gift to your loved ones.

Bankruptcy Seminar Topics

Seminar topics for last Thursday’s free legal seminar covered the basics of a Chapter 7 case filing in Minnesota and in Wisconsin.  Whether you qualify for filing a Chapter 7 case depends on where you fall on the “Means Test” – it differs depending upon which State you live in and are filing in, as well as how many family members you have in your household.  Another topic covered was the Federal and State ExemBankruptcyptions.  Each State has different assets which are “exempted” that you can keep when you file a Chapter 7.  Some States allow you to choose either the State or the Federal Exemption, whichever one is best for you, allowing you to keep as much of what you own as possible.  The “Bankruptcy Information Sheet” was also a topic; this is a document you are required to read which explains the differences between a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 and Chapters 11 and 12.  Most individuals will file under a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.  It explains that under a Chapter 7, a trustee is appointed to take over your property.  And any property of value will be sold or turned into money to pay your creditors.  It also explains that you may be able to keep some personal items and possibly real estate depending on the law of your State and on federal law.  For a Chapter 13, it states that you can usually keep your property, but you must have wages or other regular income and agree to pay part of your income into the approved repayment plan to pay your creditors.  The Information Sheet also discusses a “Bankruptcy Discharge” and how it operates; that most taxes, child support, alimony, student loans, and certain other debts will not be discharged.  A list of documents needed for the attorney to review and process your Bankruptcy was also discussed.

Federal Trademark Applications Filed Today

Business LawWhenever I file a Federal Trademark Application for a client I wonder why more business owners don’t file them.  I think it’s a lack of awareness of the incredible value they can bring to a company.  A manufacturing client I worked for had several Registered Federal Trademarks, in use for over 25 years.  These Marks became some of the most valuable assets of the company, more than its equipment and inventory.  Another client recently sold one of their Federally Registered Trademarks and received a hefty sum for it by selling it to a competitor.  You can use it to set up your own Franchise, or you can License your Mark – both ways that you as a business owner can create a stream of income for your company.  A trademark is created by use, and must be in use continuously in order to maintain it’s status.  For a Federal Registration, the use must be in “interstate commerce,” not just within one State.  With company websites so prevalent today the barrier to use in interstate commerce is much easier to overcome than in the past.  Consider creating, using and Registering a Federal Trademark.  It can be a very worthwhile investment.

Business Leases – Most Commonly Disputed Issues

Business LawCommon legal disputes in commercial leases were highlighted in today’s free legal seminar, business leases.  One problem area is in the renewal options clauses. as it is difficult to know the appropriate rent amount in advance, not knowing market conditions, leading to vague terms and disputes.  Another hot area causing concern and disputes is the lack of precise descriptions of the premises and what is included in the rent, including common area usage.  Assignment and subletting is a third area where problems arise in commercial leases, due to ambiguity in the lease allowing the landlord’s discretion.  Yet another area of frequent dispute are “use” clauses.  Tenants prefer exclusive use provisions in order to avoid nearby competition in the same shopping center or building.  Clear drafting in a use clause is critical to avoid litigation, including remedies.  The bottom line is that it is important for both landlords and tenants to take the time to create very clear and precise terms when forming a commercial lease.  Think of the lease as a roadmap to how the parties’ relationship is defined – the more specific the terms, the better the chance of avoiding litigation.

Spots Are Still Open For The Business Leases Free Seminar Tomorrow

Business LawSeats are still available for the Business Leases free legal seminar tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. t0 12 Noon at the Anderson Legal Services, PLLC conference room, 226 Myrtle Street East, Stillwater.  To RSVP, call Attorney Jeanne M. Anderson at 651-439-1389 or send her an email to jeannemanderson@stillwater-attorney.com.

Topics Discussed At Today’s Free Wills & Revocable Trusts Seminar

Wills & TrustsAt today’s Wills & Revocable Trusts free seminar we discussed many different topics.  One topic we delved into was using a Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney compared with a Common Law Power of Attorney.  In a Common Law Power of Attorney, you may make it a “springing” power, such that it will not be in force unless you are declared by a physician to be mentally incompetent.

We also discussed Health Care Directives in detail and what additional instructions you may add to them, such as funeral information, placement of ashes, and very specific medical procedures you identify as what you want, do not want, are undecided about, or want a trial and if no clear progress is made that treatment is stopped.

Also today we discussed why owning real estate in more than one state is an indicator that a Revocable Trust is a good tool for you – if you transfer all the real estate into your Revocable Trust, you can avoid multiple probates.  This scenario comes up a lot with Minnesota folks owning cabins in Wisconsin and condos in Florida.  You can do planning that makes everything so much easier for your family when you’re gone, that many people are not aware of.

Prince was also a topic of conversation with the news that he died without at least a Will.  Most celebrities have a Revocable Trust in order to maintain their privacy as to their assets and the disposition of them.  This was a missed opportunity for him.  And, his property will now be given to his heirs-at-law under the Minnesota Intestacy laws, instead of to the people and charities he likely would have chosen.  The lack of an Estate Plan at his death also means potential for claims and litigation among the various heirs.  We can all learn a lesson from this:  do not put off your planning.  Get something in place and you can make changes to your Plan via a Codicil to your Will or an Amendment to your Revocable Trust as they are needed.

Saturday Appointments Now Available

BuildingFront350x490For clients unable to make weekday appointments, Saturday is now an option.

  • To request an appointment, contact Attorney Jeanne M. Anderson at 651-439-1389, jeannemanderson@stillwater-attorney.com, or complete the form on the Contact page with the date and time requested.

Prince Died Without A Will

Jeanne-Anderson-Stillwater-LawyerUnlike most celebrities, who use Revocable Trusts to maintain their privacy and to avoid Probate, Price died without a Trust and without even a Will – he died “Intestate.”  Today Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, filed a Petition for Formal Appointment of Special Administrator in Carver County, Minnesota, for the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson.  His Estate will be administered under a Formal Probate Proceeding, supervised by a Judge.  We the public will be able to see an Inventory of His Assets and learn who will inherit his assets, which are said to be in excess of $300 million.  Tyka has requested to be appointed as the Special Administrator.  All of the assets values are listed as “unknown.”  This proceeding will give us an unusual inside view of a celebrity estate, as all Probate Court documents are public.  I think given what a private person he was, this is not the way he would have preferred his estate pass to his heirs, and I really wonder why one of his advisors did not press him to get a Revocable Trust established.  I also think he missed an opportunity to donate to his charitable causes.   If you would like to see a copy of the Petition, please contact me and send me your email address and I’ll send it to you. Perhaps we can all learn something from this.