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Essential Legal Services and the Stay at Home Order

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Stay at Home order has been issued and will be taking effect on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Minnesotans are urged to Stay at Home and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The staff and attorneys at Markve & Zweifel, PLLC will still be available to provide essential legal services, including but not limited to:

In order to comply with the Stay at Home order, while also ensuring our clients have their essential legal service needs met, we will be working remotely and facilitating consultations via telephone and video-conference as much as possible. In cases where an in-person meeting is necessary, we will take additional precautions to maintain a clean and safe environment for all parties involved.

If you need legal assistance during this Stay at Home period, do not hesitate to contact MZ Law.

Taxes Due… In a Few Months

With an annual April 15 deadline for tax returns right around the corner, these coming weeks would typically be crunch time for CPAs and Accountants across the nation. Delays and social distancing caused by the corona-virus have prompted extensions and relief at both the federal and state levels.

Federal Return Due Date: July 15, 2020

Under IRS Notice 2020-18, federal income tax returns and payments, are now due on July 15, 2020 regardless of the amount owed. This 3 month extension gives individuals, trusts, estates and corporations a little more time to pull together their paperwork and have a prepare returned.

State Return Due Date: July 15, 2020 for Individuals, April 15, 2020 for Estimated Payments

Minnesota has followed the Federal guidance in extending the due date for Individual returns and payments to July 15, 2020 but is still requiring estimated tax payments for Minnesota income tax due April 15 for the 2020 tax year. 

Evictions During a Public Emergency

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order on March 23, 2020, prohibiting evictions and residential foreclosures for the duration of this peacetime emergency. Any actions that were previously commenced, seeking to recover residential premises after March 1, 2020, are now on hold. This means no evictions or residential foreclosures may be commenced until the Executive Order is rescinded.

Please note that this does not relieve a tenant’s obligation to pay rent. Tenants are still obligated to make timely rent payments and late fees may continue to be charged after 60 days. Additionally, Tenants are still obligated to maintain a safe living environment. If a Tenant seriously endangers the safety of other residents, or if they are conducting unlawful activities, they may still be evicted.

The full text of the Executive Order can be found here: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-14.pdf

If you have any questions regarding this Executive Order, or other landlord-tenant matters you may be experiencing during this season contact our attorneys.

Estate Planning + Covid

We’ve had many questions come in recent days about estate plans during the corona-virus crisis. While this is not a time for panic, it is never a bad time to think about your estate plan and ensure you’re prepared for whatever may come your way.

A robust estate plan will include a number of documents that are designed to bring peace and ease during times of uncertainty. Our standard estate plan includes:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Health Care Directive
  • Power of Attorney

Each document has it’s own purpose and can be particularly helpful in times like these.

Powers of Attorney can be particularly helpful as they appoint another person to help manage their financial affairs while you’re still alive. This isn’t a relinquishment of your own power and authority, but rather calling in a second set of hands. As we’re all being encouraged to self-quarantine and bank hours are even more limited than before (what’s the deal with closing at noon on Saturdays anyways?), it may be useful to have someone on standby with the authority to legally access your information and accounts.

Health Care Directives are of even greater importance during a pandemic like this. If you need health care, but are unable to advocate for yourself and express your wishes for whatever reason, a duly-appointed health care agent can save the day and speak on your behalf and ensure you receive the care you need.

Lastly, a Last Will and Testament should be prepared (or updated) to ensure your affairs are in order in case a worst-case scenario comes. The Will lets you decide who should be in charge in the event of your passing, and for those of you with minor children, the Will  allows you to designate a guardian to take care of your children.

If you’ve been meaning to take care of your estate plan, but simply haven’t gotten around to it, take advantage of this quarantine and give us a call for a free consultation.

Attorneys Still at Work

What a week we’ve had here in Minnesota- our news cycle has replaced our ever interesting “spring” weather reports with covid counts, and our Minnesota Nice has taken an ever greater chill with small nods coming from a distance. Nonetheless, the team at Markve & Zweifel is still hard at work. As anxieties rise, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding your estate plans, real property and small businesses. Our attorneys will do their best to provide advice, guidance, and a little humor to lighten the mood through e-mail, telephone and video conferences.

To schedule a meeting, head over to the Contact page and send a message, or give Cindy at a call at 763-450-1639.

Who needs a Health Care Directive?

Let’s face it- thinking about being in a situation where we aren’t able to speak or act for ourselves is something we’d rather not dwell on.  When it comes to a Health Care Directive, most of us have the attitude of “I’ll get to that someday…when I’m older” or “I’m in great health, I can worry about it later.” Unfortunately, life happens, accidents happen and it’s good to be prepared.

It’s important to let your wishes be known to the people who are significant in your life and to your health care providers. If you’ve been to a doctor’s office or have been admitted to the hospital in the past few years, even as an outpatient, you’ve likely been asked if you have an advance directive or a health care directive. A Health Care Directive allows you to name a person, or persons, to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so at the time. It also puts in writing what your personal preferences are, not only with regard to your health care, but also:

  • If you have any spiritual or religious traditions that you would like your Agent to be aware of and act accordingly;
  • If you have wishes regarding cremation, burial, memorial services, funeral services and disposition of your remains; and,
  • If you would like to be an organ donor.

Having a Health Care Directive also gives protection to your Health Care Agent to not be liable for decisions made in good faith on your behalf. The last thing you want is one person saying that you want “X” and another saying you want “Y”, it not only puts those significant to you in a horrible position, but what you would want to happen won’t happen if no one knows exactly what your wishes are.

Who needs a Health Care Directive? Every adult should have a Health Care Directive.  Contact MZ Law to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys to discuss your health care directive and other estate planning needs.