Ever play the telephone game? You say something and it gets repeated down the line – what the last person hears may be something entirely different than what was meant…
At Christmas time, Dad says to Mom – Honey, if I die before you do I want you to have all of my earthly possessions, maybe you could set aside a little something for the grandkid’s college education. If I get sick and am in a vegetative state, I don’t want to be kept alive by artificial means. I’d also like to have a priest come and perform Last Rites. Please donate my organs. After I pass, I would like to be cremated and have a Memorial Service where everyone tells funny stories about things we’ve done together, maybe even a few stories about how much I loved my family and even our old dog Rocky. Then I’d like to have my ashes scattered by the family in a few of my favorite places like our cabin at the lake, hole number 7 at my golf club, and the park where I asked you to marry me all those years ago. Thinking back to the day we met in high school, when our eyes met for the first time in science class to where we are now, I realize that I’m the luckiest man alive to have been blessed with a wonderful life with you and our kids.
Mom relays the conversation to their oldest son – Dad and I had an interesting conversation a few days ago while sitting around the Christmas tree. He mentioned that if he passes before me, he wants me to have everything, and to set up a college fund for the grandkids. If he’s in a vegetative state he wants the priest to pull the plug and donate his organs to science. He’d like to be cremated and have a memorial service where we tell stories about him and his dog Rocky. Then he wants to have his ashes scattered at the lake, a hole at the golf course and the park where he asked me to marry him. He said he’s really lucky and has been blessed with a wonderful life and that he only has eyes for me.
Oldest son relays the conversation to his youngest sister – Mom said that when Dad dies he wants everything to go to the grandkids. Don’t pull the plug if he gets scatter-brained. That she should donate his eyes to science and he wants to have a funeral at the golf course by the park, serve vegetables, and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Then he wants to be buried next to Rocky the dog…
Moral of the story – Estate Planning makes sure that your wishes are heard. Give us a call to avoid a rocky outcome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing rings in a new year like changes to tax law. This year’s changes will have significant impacts on many individuals’ and families’ estate plans. Changes to the taxation of retirement accounts, and gift and estate tax exemptions may mean your wills, trusts and beneficiary designations need an update.
Effective January 1, 2020, the Secure Act eliminated the use of the “Stretch IRA”. Many have used the “Stretch IRA” as a part of their estate plans to provide for their descendants while avoiding income taxation. Under the Secure Act, the rollover has disappeared. Now, instead of allowing a descendant to inherit a retirement account and stretch the distributions over their lifetimes, the retirement account must be distributed with 10 years or risk significant loss due to taxation at the compressed trust tax rates. If your estate plan utilizes the Stretch IRA, you must decide whether it is more important to protect the asset for the benefit of your loved one, or save on income taxes.
Other updates to note, effective January 1, 2020:
Increased federal estate/gift tax lifetime exemption: $11.58 million per individual ($23.16 million married) up from $11.4 million
Increased Minnesota state estate tax exemption amount: $3 million up from $2.7 million in 2019.
The annual gift tax exclusion has remained steady at $15,000 per individual ($30,000 married).
With these changes in mind, be sure take a moment to review your assets and consider your estate and financial planning needs. For those of you who already have a will or trust in place, please take a moment to review your documents and assets (on your own, or with an attorney at MZ Law) to determine how this years tax changes may impact your estate. For those of you who have “Make a Will” on your list of 2020’s New Year’s Resolutions, schedule a free estate plan consultation and we’ll share how to best plan your estate with the new laws in mind.