New Estate Tax Rates For Minnesota Enacted

It’s time to update your personal financial statement, and possibly your Estate Plan.  The Minnesota Legislature enacted an estate tax bill which increased the State exemptions from Minnesota Estate Taxes.  It does not match the Federal Estate Tax Exemption, is much higher – $5,490,000 per person in 2017 – but here are the new Minnesota Estate Tax Exemptions, per person:

2017 – $2,100,000;  2018 – $2,400,000;  2019 – $2,700,000; and 2020 – $3,000,000.

The new exemptions are currently the law of the land, but could change if Governor Dayton calls a Special Session and is successful at reversing the law.  Here is an article I found In Forbes, which contains further information.

click here

New Laws Take Effect Aug 1, 2017

Every August 1st, new laws take effect in Minnesota. Here are the 2017 new Minnesota laws.  I came across this summary of select new laws in the Patch and thought it might interest you.

How To Edit Your Parents’ Possessions Before Their Demise

I am all about planning.  For your parents, and for you – planning Estates, with Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive documents.  I am all about organizing, and helping people pull together their legal and financial information and update and maintain it in my “Ready Books.”  Well, here is another aspect of your life which needs to be managed – your household furnishings.  So I want to share with you this very helpful article published by AARP on how to “unfurnish” a home.  I love the idea of planning ahead!  Just think of the headache you will save yourself and your family.  Worth a read!

Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.

The Stuff of Nightmares

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)

Many boomers and Gen X’ers charged with disposing the family heirlooms, it seems, are unprepared for the reality and unwilling to face it.

They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.

— Susan Devaney, The Mavins Group

“It’s the biggest challenge our members have and it’s getting worse,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

“At least a half dozen times a year, families come to me and say: ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’” says financial adviser Holly Kylen of Kylen Financials in Lititz, Pa. The answer: lots of luck.

Heirloom Today, Foregone Tomorrow

Dining room tables and chairs, end tables and armoires (“brown” pieces) have become furniture non grata. Antiques are antiquated. “Old mahogany stuff from my great aunt’s house is basically worthless,” says Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation, in Luray, Va.

On PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, prices for certain types of period furniture have dropped so much that some episode reruns note current, lower estimated appraisals.

And if you’re thinking your grown children will gladly accept your parents’ items, if only for sentimental reasons, you’re likely in for an unpleasant surprise.

“Young couples starting out don’t want the same things people used to have,” says Susan Devaney, president of NASMM and owner of The Mavins Group, a senior move manager in Westfield, N.J. “They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.”

The Ikea Generation

Buysse agrees. “This is an Ikea and Target generation. They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did,” she notes. “And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”

And you can pretty much forget about interesting your grown kids in the books that lined their grandparents’ shelves for decades. If you’re lucky, you might find buyers for some books by throwing a garage sale or you could offer to donate them to your public library — if the books are in good condition.

Most antiques dealers (if you can even find one!) and auction houses have little appetite for your parents’ stuff, either. That’s because their customers generally aren’t interested. Carol Eppel, an antique dealer and director of the Minnesota Antiques Dealers Association in Stillwater, Minn., says her customers are far more intrigued by Fisher Price toy people and Arby’s glasses with cartoon figures than sideboards and credenzas.

Even charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill frequently reject donations of home furnishings, I can sadly say from personal experience.

Midcentury, Yes; Depression-Era, No

A few kinds of home furnishings and possessions can still attract interest from buyers and collectors, though. For instance, Midcentury Modern furniture — think Eames chairs and Knoll tables — is pretty trendy. And “very high-end pieces of furniture, good jewelry, good artwork and good Oriental rugs — I can generally help find a buyer for those,” says Eppel.

“The problem most of us have,” Eppel adds, “is our parents bought things that were mass-produced. They don’t hold value and are so out of style. I don’t think you’ll ever find a good place to liquidate them.”

Getting Liquid With a Liquidator

Unless, that is, you find a business like Nova Liquidation, which calls itself “the fastest way to cash in and clean out your estate” in the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville and Richmond, Va. Rather than holding an estate sale, Nova performs a “buyout” — someone from the firm shows up, makes an assessment, writes a check and takes everything away (including the trash), generally within two days.

If a client has a spectacular piece of art, Fultz says, his company brokers it through an auction house. Otherwise, Nova takes to its retail shop anything the company thinks it can sell and discounts the price continuously (perhaps down to 75 percent off), as needed. Nova also donates some items.

Another possibility: Hiring a senior move manager (even if the job isn’t exactly a “move”). In a Next Avenue article about these pros, Leah Ingram said most NASMM members charge an hourly rate ($40 to $100 an hour isn’t unusual) and a typical move costs between $2,500 and $3,000. Other senior move managers specializing in selling items at estate sales get paid through sales commissions of 35 percent or so.

“Most of the people in our business do a free consultation so we can see what services are needed,” says Devaney.

8 Tips for Home Unfurnishing

What else can you do to avoid finding yourself forlorn in your late parents’ home, broken up about the breakfront that’s going begging? Some suggestions:

  1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around.“Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff,” says Kylen. “That will help sell the stuff.” Or it might help you decide to hold onto it. One of Kylen’s clients inherited a set of beautiful gold-trimmed teacups, saucers and plates. Her mother had told her she’d received them as a gift from the DuPonts because she had nursed for the legendary wealthy family. Turns out, the plates were made forthe DuPonts. The client decided to keep them due to the fantastic story.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can.“We tell people: The longer you have to sell something, the more money you’re going to make,” says Fultz. Of course, this could mean cluttering up your basement, attic or living room with tables, lamps and the like until you finally locate interested parties.
  3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal.If there is, see if an auction house might be interested in trying to sell things for you on consignment. “It’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer,” says Buysse.

That’s true. But you might get lucky. I did. My sister and I were pleasantly surprised — no, flabbergasted — when the auctioneer we hired sold our parents’ enormous, turn-of-the-20th-century portrait of an unknown woman by an obscure painter to a Florida art dealer for a tidy sum. (We expected to get a dim sum, if anything.) Apparently, the Newcomb-Macklin frame was part of the attraction. Go figure. Our parents’ tabletop marble bust went bust at the auction, however, and now sits in my den, owing to the kindness of my wife.

  1. Get the jewelry appraised.It’s possible that a necklace, ring or brooch has value and could be sold.
  2. Look for a nearby consignment shop that might take some items.Or, perhaps, a liquidation firm.
  3. See if someone locally could use what you inherited. “My dad had some tools that looked interesting. I live in Amish country and a farmer gave me $25 for them,” says Kylen. She also picked out five shelters and gave them a list of all the kitchen items she wound up with. “By the fifth one, everything was gone. That kind of thing makes your heart feel good,” Kylen says.
  4. Download the free Rightsizing and Relocation Guidefrom the National Association of Senior Move Managers.This helpful booklet is on the group’s site.
  5. But perhaps the best advice is: Prepare for disappointment.“For the first time in history of the world, two generations are downsizing simultaneously,” says Buysse, talking about the boomers’ parents (sometimes, thefinal downsizing) and the boomers themselves. “I have a 90-year-old parent who wants to give me stuff or, if she passes away, my siblings and I will have to clean up the house. And my siblings and I are 60 to 70 and we’re downsizing.”

This, it seems, is 21st-century life — and death. “I don’t think there is a future” for the possessions of our parents’ generation, says Eppel. “It’s a different world.”

Here is the link to copy and paste in your browser: http://www.nextavenue.org/nobody-wants-parents-stuff/

New Notary Updates

This article was published on June 12, 2017, by the Minnesota Secretary of State.

 

Dear Minnesota Notary,

On Monday, July 10, 2017, the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State will introduce a new and updated website for the Notary Online System. This new service will greatly enhance usability for our new and existing notaries, county users and the general public.

New Notary Online Updates and Features

The new site provides a simplified look and feel for Notaries to update the residential, public and email address information, renew a commission, and print the notary commission certificate.

  • For security reasons, credit card is the only payment option permitted.
  • All notaries must create a new account and password to access their Notary Account information online. The account registration process requires a valid email address on record. If you do not have a valid email address on record, you will need to complete a paper Notary Application form and submit changes, including updated email address, by mail.
  • Email notifications will be sent when changes have been made to a Notary Commission on record, if an official email address is on file.
  • Updated Notary Commission Certificates include two Signature Lines (legal name and name as usually signed) for registering a commission at the county level.
  • An improved ‘Find a Notary’ search feature to locate a notary by commission number, name, city, county and business listing.
  • Notary Help is centralized in one area covering a wide variety of information on how to become a notary, file a renewal online, FAQ’s, and much more.
  • I hope this update is useful and beneficial to your great work on behalf of Minnesotans.

Sincerely,

Steve Simon Secretary of State

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.