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The Legal Owner of Real Property Matters

Hypothetical 1: Perez and Rosie are married to each other and do not have any children. They purchase a home together and the deed is in both of their names. Perez passes away. Rosie goes to sell their home and finds out that they owned the property as tenants-in-common, rather than as joint tenants. As a result, Rosie must start probate to have Perez’s one-half share of the property either distributed to her by the probate court so she can sell the home or she needs to sell the home with the estate as one-half owner being one of the seller’s...

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Immunity as a Volunteer

Volunteering your time at a nonprofit organization to help others in need is commendable. Paying it forward in life by volunteering your time, skills, and talent is a value that is close to our hearts. This article’s purpose is to remind you that your good intentions as a volunteer does not protect you if your actions as a volunteer exceeds the scope of services of the nonprofit’s organization. In a recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision, the Court held that the volunteer did not have immunity under Minnesota’s Nonprofit Corporation Act when the volunteer allowed his mentee to stay for an...

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Planning for Medical Assistance

Elder law is protecting assets from medical assistance liens, lawfully transferring assets, and asset reduction strategies. The majority of people who do not have long-term care insurance will most likely end up having to use Medical Assistance when they reach their later years to pay for nursing home care. In order to qualify to receive Medical Assistance, as a general rule, your assets must not exceed more than $3,000 (there are several exceptions). As a result, it is common for people to have to spend down their assets to pay privately for nursing home care until they have reached the...

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The Mistake of a Business Owner Regarding Failing to Plan

Hypothetical #1: Joe’s Sporting Goods, Inc. is owned by Joe, and it rents commercial space. However, Joe decides it would be beneficial to own a commercial building as he just received his new lease terms and the monthly rent is higher than what Joe would pay for a mortgage on his own building. In addition, he could start a separate real estate holding company LLC that the corporation could rent the space from, which would be a significant tax benefit. Joe’s plan is to buy a building in two months’ time when his current lease expires. Joe makes an appointment with...

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Gifting

To most people, gifting comes naturally and without analysis. However, it is important to make certain that you understand the legal and tax consequences to any gifts that you make prior to making the gifts. This article, while it discusses tax consequences, is not tax advice. Hypothetical 1: Rosie is not married and has one adult child. She recently had some health issues and decides it is now time to start gifting assets to her daughter. Her estate is worth $3,500,000. She knows that in Minnesota the estate tax exemption is $3,000,000 and there is no gift tax. So, she gifts...

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Removing Personal Property

A common reaction when someone dies is to remove personal property, such as household goods, furniture, furnishings, sporting equipment, vehicles and the like from the decedent’s home and other real property. However, more likely than not, doing so will result in you having to explain your actions to a judge who may still hold you personally accountable. Unless you are 100% certain you are the sole heir (note: you cannot be 100% certain that you are the sole heir), do not remove anything from a home or any real property such as a second residence unless it is already in the...

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Legal Entity Formation

Choosing the correct legal entity formation will save you from headaches and stress, and even more importantly it will provide you financial savings. Best practice is working with your business accountant and business attorney to make certain that your business structure provides the best protection. There are several different aspects to take into consideration, such as tax advantages, administration of the entity, liability, ownership restrictions, outside capital, need for outside transfers/etc. For example, are you aware of the following? For tax purposes, your corporation is automatically taxed as a C-Corporation unless you file for and obtain S-Corp status from the...

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The Mistake of a Business Owner Regarding a Commercial Lease

Hypothetical #1: Sarah owns Sarah’s Fancy Cakes, LLC. She rents out retail space at a local mall. When it became clear to Sarah that she no longer could afford her space as consumer spending habits had changed, she decided it was time to terminate the commercial lease. However, she signed a five-year lease and she was only two years into the five-year lease. Sarah seeks the advice of a business attorney. Sarah’s attorney points out that the commercial lease for Sarah’s Fancy Cakes, LLC is in Sarah’s personal name. Sarah explains to the attorney that she signed the lease prior to...

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Common Employment Issues

With the current pandemic, employment issues are becoming more complicated. However, there still remain common employment issues that we see on a frequent basis unrelated to the pandemic. One of the most common employment issues is the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. The misclassification of workers as independent contractors has been a priority of governing agencies for several years. However, in Minnesota, since 2019, the stakes are even higher with the sweeping wage and hour “reform” laws. As part of these laws are increased penalties for wage theft. Employers in Minnesota should be extremely concerned about the potential of...

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Gifting from a Legal Perspective

While gifting is admirable, it is important that you understand the legal consequences of gifting to prevent unintended consequences. In addition to legal consequences, there are potential tax consequences. It is important that you consult with your accountant prior to making any gifts. This article, while it discusses tax consequences, is not tax advice. Hypothetical 1: Jack and Jill are excited that their son, Robert, is marrying Amy because she is wonderful. As a result, they decide to gift to Robert and Amy, as their wedding gift, $50,000 for the downpayment of Robert and Amy’s new house. Currently, the annual federal gift...

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