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Estate Valuation Archives

Navigating a trust dispute in Minnesota

When a trust is established, it is devised to benefit the loved one for which it was set up. Although no issues were apparent at the time the legal document was created, trust disputes could arise. Our firm understands that beneficiaries and trustees in Minnesota may encounter issues regarding a trust. In some cases, disputes develop when the value of the trust is in question. In order to properly address these issues, individuals should determine what information they seek and what their overall goals are when initiating trust litigation.

Will a future inheritance boom impact MN estate valuation?

Although some have dubbed the times in which we live a "new Gilded Age," there are some notable differences. Minnesota residents may have already heard that the wealth in this country is heavily concentrated, with 1 percent of American families holding about 35 percent of the country's riches.

Certain Minnesota estates may be hard to value

Over a lifetime Minnesota residents collect and earn a variety of assets. These assets can include original artworks, collections, stock options, cash, real estate, a business and other various personal property. Upon a person's death, these assets become part of the person's estate. Part of the estate will be used to settle people's affairs and part of the estate will be used to pay taxes. However, the rest of the estate will be used as an inheritance and be distributed according to the estate planning documents.

Twins' owners tax lawsuit reveals tricks of estate valuation

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.

Family loans can make trouble for Minnesota estates

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.

Death doctor's artwork at center of probate dispute

Jack Kevorkian is best known for the legacy of assisted-suicide activism that earned him the moniker "Doctor Death." Twin Cities readers may be surprised to learn that the controversial doctor was also a painter. Ownership of several of the doctor's paintings formed the basis of a probate dispute that recently settled and brought an end to federal court litigation.

Valuing estate assets key to resolving family disputes

Some of our Twin Cities readers may unfortunately have experienced the type of disagreements that can arise among siblings over the distribution of parents' estate assets. Both testators and estate planning professionals often do their best to draft estate plans that provide clear direction and avoid conflicts, but even well considered plans sometimes leave room for probate disputes.

Beastie Boy's last rebel act complicates estate administration

Twin Cities hip-hop fans undoubtedly know the Beastie Boys not only for more than 25 years of contribution to American music, but also for the band's historically rebellious stance against commercialization of its intellectual property. Fans mourned the loss of bassist, songwriter and civil rights activist Adam "MCA" Yauch to cancer in May of this year, but the iconic hip-hopper set up one last act of rebellion to be executed from beyond the grave. Unfortunately, the artist's efforts to stand on principle may result in unexpected financial costs to his family and heirs.

Legacy of Jim 'The Empire Builder' Hill spurs probate litigation

Minnesotans may be interested to learn that the legacy of railroad tycoon and longtime St. Paul resident James "The Empire Builder" Hill was the subject of a recently settled trust dispute. The Empire Builder earned a place in history by founding the Great Northern Railway and constructing rail lines stretching from Duluth to the West Coast.

Warning for Minnesotans: watch out for financial abuse of elders

Recently, Minnesota's Commerce Commissioner urged the families of senior citizens to use tax time as an opportunity to look for signs of financial abuse, and a recent insurance industry study may give Twin Cities residents extra cause for concern over the estate of a senior loved one. The study concluded that as many as 60 percent of cases reporting financial exploitation of vulnerable adults involved coercion or undue influence by a grown-up child.

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

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Mason & Helmers
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