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Lake Elmo Minnesota Legal Blog

Financial surprises can accompany divorce

When Minnesota women decide to divorce, the decision to end their marriage can come with unexpected financial changes. In one study of 1,785 adult women, including those planning for divorce, going through the process or with a finalized divorce, 46 percent said that they had encountered surprises during the process with an impact on their finances. Most of the women who participated in the study were already divorced, and over one-fifth were 55 or older.

There were several major financial surprises that these women encountered while going through a divorce. In the first place, many learned that they were unaware of the extent of their debt during the marriage, including their mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, auto loans and other debts. In addition, for some women who had been long-time homemakers, the difficulty of re-entering the workforce led to lowered salaries and career prospects. Many expected that alimony payments would last longer or that child support amounts would be greater. While many people had developed a deep attachment to their marital homes, they often had to leave those homes for smaller, more affordable places.

Changing interest rates can affect estate planning

Trusts are an important part of estate and financial planning for many people in Minnesota. The current interest rates can play a major role in determining which type of trust will be the most beneficial to heirs. After years of lower rates, interest rates are rising, and this trend is expected to continue into the future. As the rates change, the decisions that estate owners make about trusts can also change.

For example, people who have been undecided about creating a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or charitable lead annuity trust (CLAT) may want to act quickly. A GRAT is created for a specific period of time; each year, the person who created the trust receives an income from it. After the period is over, the value remaining in the trust is passed to the creator's beneficiaries. At this point, the value of the trust is taxable, and those taxes are calculated using a formula that takes the initial interest rate into consideration. Creating these trusts while lower rates are in effect can minimize the tax burden.

Payroll deductions streamline child support

In Minnesota and across the country, payroll collections are essential to the successful enforcement of child support orders. Across the country, almost 66 percent of all child support payments are made through electronic portals that streamline payroll withholding at the workplace. In 2017, $24.4 billion of a total $32.4 billion in child support payments across the country were collected through direct payroll deduction according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.

The federal office received over 67 million new-hire reports from employers in 2017. These mandatory reports must be made by companies that hire new workers; by reporting this information to the federal system, any state with an outstanding child support order against that parent can seek automatic withholding of their support payments through payroll. The federal agency's commissioner said that there are three elements necessary for the payroll program's success, including a reliable system, a working parent and the payroll professionals involved. He noted that the agency is highly successful in collecting overdue child support, noting that it collects $5.33 for each dollar spent on its efforts.

Understanding pour-over wills

There are many reasons why a Minnesota resident with a trust-based estate plan may fail to place their assets into the trust during their lifetime. However, if there is no other will that dictates what should happen to the assets, the inclusion of a pour-over will can ensure that the assets are passed to the trust when the grantor dies.

A pour-over will does not oversee the distribution of all the estate owner's property. Instead, it is a will that states that any assets of an estate not funded into the trust when the grantor dies should be transferred to that trust. This legal device designates the trust as the beneficiary of any assets that are not already under its ownership and that are not slated to be transferred to a living beneficiary in some other way, such as via the beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy.

Handling College Expenses Following a Divorce

When a marriage ends, all involved parties should revisit their financial plans. However, few exes have explicitly written plans in place for managing expenses such as college expenses for their children. Even if a divorce seems unlikely, all Minnesota couples should map out their plans in case of a separation.

An estimated four out of 10 marriages end in a divorce. This means that at any given time, a family's financial outlook could change. These changes can disrupt plans for higher education if efforts aren't made to ensure that tuition plans aren't carefully outlined during the divorce proceedings. By outlining the financial responsibilities of both parties, a couple could successfully maintain a college eduction fund.

Minnesota DWIs can follow you across the Wisconsin border

Despite the small rivalry, Minnesota and Wisconsin residents are incredibly similar between spending time outdoors to brewing beer in the basement of their homes. It makes sense that residents who live on the border between the two states often cross for either work or play.

But if you are a Wisconsin resident driving along I-94 or into other areas of Minnesota, you are vulnerable to Minnesota traffic violations, especially DWI. Any violation could easily follow you back across state borders and influence your driving record in your state.

Tips for choosing the right trustee

Trusts may be an excellent tool for some people in Minnesota who are creating an estate plan. They are designed to provide a number of benefits including the ability to pass assets such as IRAs on to beneficiaries in a way that will defer or avoid taxes while growing in value. They may also be used to specify how distributions will be made. For example, distributions might only happen when beneficiaries reach certain ages or other milestones. Trusts can also express a goal, such as saving for a grandchild's education.

It is important that the grantor choose the right person as trustee. While it may seem logical to choose a trusted family member or friend since this person is familiar with the grantor's aims and the family situation, the problem is that trusts can be complex to administer. Some trusts may require financial and legal expertise that the trustee simply does not have.

Divorcing? Did you remember to update your estate plan?

If you’re planning to get divorced, there are probably a thousand issues running through your head. Who will get custody of your children? How much will you have to pay in alimony? How will you move past the pain and resentment you feel toward your ex? With all of these dramatic life changes on the line, your estate plan is probably not at the top of your priority list.

However, chances are that if you have end-of-life plans in place, they probably include your spouse. Although it may be a somewhat morbid thought, you never know what the future will hold, and you don’t want to end up in an unfortunate circumstance where your ex receives power or benefits you didn’t intend for. Below are three important subjects you should discuss with your divorce attorney:

Prince's heirs still awaiting money from his estate

In Minnesota, an executor and attorneys may have collected some money from the estate of the late musician Prince, but none of his heirs have received anything yet. Prince did not leave a will, and after two years, the probate process is still ongoing.

Probate is the process of paying off creditors and transferring a person's assets to beneficiaries after that person's death. The issue is that the executor and the IRS have not yet agreed on a value for Prince's estate at the time of his death, and until they do, the estate will remain in probate. Estates that have a will also must go through probate, but when a person dies with a will, assets are usually distributed according to the instructions in that document.

How a DUI conviction in MN affects your driving privileges

Just like that, you're in the back of a cop car and under arrest for DUI. Your adrenaline is pumping. And now you fear that you're facing a conviction. What's going to happen?

It may take a little investigation to get an idea of what to expect as each DUI conviction is unique. In this overview of DUI laws, we will focus on penalties for crimes that did not result in bodily injury to others or death. What are they?

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