Minnesotan seniors are often at risk of financial exploitation by unscrupulous individuals or businesses that are just trying to take their money. Too often, these seniors' heirs don't even find out about the rip-off until the senior has died and they must engage in probate litigation in an attempt to receive the inheritance their loved one wanted them to have.
Twin Cities readers may be interested to learn that two state lawmakers have recently proposed legislation that would impose more rigorous background check requirements for individuals seeking court appointments to serve as guardians or conservators. Minnesota's Attorney General supports the measure aimed at reducing the risk of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
Odds are that more than one of our Twin Cities readers has a sibling who borrowed heavily from mom and dad. In most cases, children borrow from parents for legitimate purposes such as financing a home or paying for unexpected expenses like medical care. In some cases, though, kids borrow from parents for all the wrong reasons. When a debt to parents remains unpaid at death, the outstanding obligation can become the source of an ugly probate dispute.
Leaving a legacy of faith may be on the mind of many Twin Cities residents. A gift in recognition of one's spiritual or religious affiliations can provide a sense of personal fulfillment in return for the personal support a faith-based organization provides over a lifetime. For one man, though, his father's generous gift to a religious organization now appears to be more the result of undue influence than of faith rightly earned.
Iron Range businessman Jeno Paulucci may be best known to Twin Cities readers by way of his legacy of popular food products. The Hibbing native earned his fortune through the success of brands including Chun King, Jeno's Pizza Rolls and Michelina's frozen meals. The nearly simultaneous death of the entrepreneur and his wife has led to an eight-month long dispute over the administration of family trusts valued at an estimated $100 million.
Twin Cities readers may recall a previous post in this blog discussing whether Minnesota's Defense of Marriage Act forbids recognizing a same-sex spouse as the legal heir of a deceased partner. The issue arose after a Minneapolis man's spouse of 25 years died unexpectedly without a will. The couple had married in California, but Minnesota law seemed to dictate that the deceased man's assets should go to his parents rather than his husband.
A recent case of probate litigation in Hennepin County may determine whether a Twin Cities resident should be entitled to claim an inheritance from his long-time partner and same-sex spouse in the absence of a will. The couple married in a state that recognized same-sex unions. The case before the probate court questions whether Minnesota's Defense of Marriage Act prohibits recognizing a same-sex spouse as the legal heir of a deceased partner.