Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
Phone: 651-323-2548 Toll-Free: 877-389-5533
Menu Contact
Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

St Paul Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Sibling disputes regarding power of attorney

Specifying a Minnesota power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning activities a person should do. A power of attorney has the job because it allows someone the ability to act on behalf of an incapacitated or deceased person. There is either a medical power of attorney who is charge of a person's medical treatments or a financial power of attorney who has financial power, including opening and closing bank accounts, paying bills, cashing checks, etc. Both of these tasks require the power of attorney to act on the best interest of their principal.

When a parent names one of their children to be their power of attorney, it can cause problems among the other children who may feel left out. Siblings may feel distrust among the other siblings, and they may also not agree with the choices that are made. There are certain things a family should know about a power of attorney designation.

Burden of proof in probate litigation

Probate litigation can become necessary in a variety of circumstances. If you find yourself needing to take action, such as challenging a will or any of its provisions, it can be helpful to understand some basics about how Minnesota courts tend to handle such disputes.

Generally, those who submit the will as valid under Minnesota law have the initial burden of proving its validity. The basic legal requirements state that a will must be in writing, signed by the testator and by two witnesses to the signing.

Typical causes of inheritance disputes

Inheritance issues can happen when an estate needs to be settled. Although, most Minnesota estate are closed without issue, inheritance disputes are common. There are several causes of inheritance disputes among family members.

One reason why an inheritance dispute may arise is that someone argues that whatever is in the will is not the intention of the will's creator. A person may feel like they have been left out of the will by accident. This can happen if there was a lack of coordination of estate documents, poor communication among family members or family circumstances that have changed and estate documents were not updated.

Inheritance issues that cause family problems

Many Minnesota residents will be fortunate enough to receive an inheritance. Inheritances are gifts from family members after they pass away. Unfortunately, these gifts sometimes become a source of contention.

Occasionally, problems can arise among the heirs. One issue can be that those who receive the money spend it carelessly. The heirs can receive the money, and then spend it on big purchases, like new homes, fancy cars, boats, etc. The person who gave the money to their heirs usually does not want the beneficiaries to spend the money recklessly.

Aretha Franklin died without a will in place

Many Minnesota residents understand the importance of estate planning. Without having the proper legal documents in place, like a will or trust, a person's estate will go through probate, opening up a can of worms among their family members. Failing to plan for what happens to a person's assets upon their death can lead to many arguments among family members and a person's assets not going where the owner had intended.

With Aretha Franklin's recent death, it has become apparent that the singer did not have a will or trust in place at the time of her death. The famous singer left behind four sons, but was not married. This has set the stage for what may be an epic battle over her estate, estimated to be worth $80 million.

Basics of diminished capacity

Aging baby boomers make up a large percentage of the population in Minnesota. As this group of adults continues to get older, diminished mental capacity continues to increase as well. Diminished capacity in older adults can affect a person's financial decisions that can affect their estate, leading to probate litigation.

By 2060, the number of Americans who are ages 65 or over is expected to be double what it was in 2016 and will total almost a quarter of the total population. The number of people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease is expected to rise to 14 million by 2050. With these large numbers of people who will be suffering from diminished mental capacity, it is important for families to understand what this means and how it can affect a person's finances and estate.

Basics of elderly conservatorship

There are many Minnesota families who are taking care of an elderly family member. With a large portion of the population in their golden years, there are many who are suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, and other diseases where they can't take care of themselves. An elderly conservatorship is a way to ensure these people are taken care of.

Families may face a situation in which their loved one will no longer be able to take care of themselves. Whether this is from mental or physical incapacity, it is an emotional situation for everyone involved. An elderly loved one may not be able to remember to take their medications, maintain proper hygiene or manage their own finances. If this is occurring, it may be best for the elderly person to have a guardian appointed for them.

How to remove a personal representative of an estate

It is difficult to manage your emotions and legal matters after a loved one passes away. However, you expect the personal representative of the estate to handle things with integrity and honesty. Unfortunately, some personal representatives do not fulfill their obligations. 

Personal representatives, sometimes known as executors or administrators, have specific duties. If the personal representative in your situation is not adhering to these responsibilities, you may be able to remove him or her. Here is how to remove a personal representative who is violating his or her fiduciary duty. 

New Minnesota law aims to protect seniors

There are many instances of seniors being taken advantage by people who wish to gain access to their finances. Fraud is a huge problem in Minnesota and it can be hard for seniors to understand when there is illegal activity occurring. A new law aims to protect senior citizens from fraud on their financial accounts.

The Safe Seniors Financial Protection Act went into effect on August 1 in Minnesota. It is estimated that one out of every five Americans over the age of 65 will be the victim of financial fraud. The new law protects retirement savings for seniors in their pensions, 401ks and other funds.

Senior Safe Act

As we have discussed previously, elder abuse is a problem in Minnesota and across the country. Many states have tried to tackle this problem to keep vulnerable people safe.

In an attempt to try and thwart elder financial abuse, the government recently passed the Senior Safe Act. This program requires financial institutions to train their employees to be aware of suspicious behavior. The employees are trained to recognize senior financial abuse and the act offers a way for the employees to report their concerns.

Office Location

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street, Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map