Numerous studies have shown that financial exploitation of elderly people is on the rise in Minnesota and the rest of the nation. Many Minnesota families unfortunately do not even realize that this kind of exploitation has been going on until after their loved one has passed away and they get a look at the deceased's finances. In many cases, the would-be heirs are surprised when they see their loved one's will has listed suspicious strangers as beneficiaries. In some cases, this develops into a disagreement over inheritance that must be resolved in court.
Minnesota courts don't want to have to second guess what a deceased person meant when they wrote a will, explaining how they want their estate to be distributed after their death. As long as the will was executed with all the formalities and apparently with all the requirements, the court will generally do its best to not interfere. As a result, about 99 percent of wills pass through probate without serious legal issues. But in that remaining one percent, there are many will contests that present thorny legal issues and difficult conflicts.
Many Minnesota residents set up their estate plans to try to keep a particular piece of real estate or a business in the family. To achieve this goal, they may set up trusts, conditions in a will or other instruments to direct the behavior of their heirs and beneficiaries. But, as the years go by and generations change, there can sometimes be a failure to interpret a trust, or a dispute over the original intent of the party who made the plan.
Minnesota Twins fans disappointed in the team's performance this season may be surprised to hear this, but the Major League Baseball team has been valued at $578 million. That's good news for the Pohlad family, who control the franchise they inherited from owner Carl Pohlad, who died in 2009. There's just one problem, Carl Pohlad's estate listed the value of the team at only $24 million for tax purposes. The IRS said that was far too low, and demanded $121 million in taxes, plus a $48 million fine from the estate for allegedly grossly misstating the value of the estate.
According to one recent study, the 76 million members of the Baby Boom generation are inheriting $8.4 trillion from earlier generations. Much of this money is coming at a time when the economy is sluggish, and when younger generations are stuck with student loan debt and heavy mortgages. Perhaps as a result of the combination of these factors, there are more and more disagreements over inheritance in Minnesota and the rest of the country.