Client Information Questionnaire

So that we will be able to answer your questions and handle your case in a prompt and efficient manner, it is important that you attempt to answer the following questions fully and accurately. If you need additional space for an answer, you may use the back of a page. The completed questionnaire will be kept confidential and will remain in our possession.


Funeral Instruction Check List

It is important that you leave basic instructions that set forth what you want done in the event of your death. I have had occasion to plan the funerals of both my parents and a couple of clients. In the case of my parents, I had a pretty good idea of what they wanted and where their important papers were located.


What is Elder Law?

Elder law is constantly changing. The reason is simple, demographics. In 1936 the birth rate bottomed out with the depression. In 1946 the WWII baby boom began and this continued until 1964. In 2010 the first of the baby boomer generation will be entering the Medicare system.

The rules for medical assistance are drawn by the Federal Government and passed on to the State.


Last Will and Testament fee schedule

A simple Will involves about an hour and a half of our time. ($200.00 per hour) We are very careful to make sure that it is clearly drawn and executed in accordance with the laws of this State and the uniform Probate Code.

A simple Will involves no special bequests, no children of different marriages and no trust provisions.


15 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Elder Law

Do I need a will?

Yes. A Will directs the distribution of your assets and puts someone in charge of your estate. The cost of the Will is made up in the bond waiver provision alone.

Do I need a trust?

If you have substantial assets or other complicating factors then you should consider a trust. A trust is private and can result in substantial tax savings.


Do I Need A Trust?

You should consider a "Trust" if:

  1. You have a large estate;
  2. You have heirs or children who have special needs or conflicts;
  3. You have property in more than one (1) State;
  4. You are concerned about management of your property if you are disabled;
  5. You want your affairs to be private;
  6. You want a truly unique plan of distribution;
  7. You want continuing management of your money for months or years after


Estate Planning for the Young Family

Parents of young children should have an estate plan in place for them. Children can not inherit or own property until they are eighteen years of age. They also can not legally make financial decisions until they are eighteen years of age. Someone else has to make the financial and parenting decisions.


How to Prepare for Probate

  • Order 6-10 certified death certificates.
  • Locate his/her Original will.
  • Write down the addresses of all of his/her children and every person or organization mentioned in her/his will.
  • Contact any life insurance companies for a claim form.
  • Contact Social Security.
  • If she/he is a veteran or is married to a veteran, locate his/her DD 214.
  • Contact the VA if he/she is a veteran.


Life Estate Warnings

We are often asked to do deeds conveying the homestead of an elder to his/her children to "avoid probate" or to "avoid medical assistance". The following is a summary of reasons why this might not be a good ideal: When you create a life estate, a gift is automatically made to your children. The gift is known as the remainder interest.


Three Stories of Estate Planning

  1. Mary was a well known church organist. She had a home and modest other assets. She did have an expensive piano, a large diamond ring and a collection of spiritual music. She had a sister named Susan who she was close to but she was unmarried and had no children. In 1971, she obtained a form and did a homemade will.


What About Estate Taxes?

In 2001, President Bush signed the Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. This act was signed with the anticipation that the Federal Government would continue to have a healthy fund balance into the next decade. The events of September 11th, 2001, may lead to changes in the law well before the year 2010.

What are Conservatorships and Guardianships?

A Conservatorship is the legal authority granted by the Court to take over the financial affairs on behalf another person.

A Guardianship is the legal authority granted by the Court to make decisions relating to the personal and medical treatment of another person.

Conservatorships and Guardianships are used in situations where people are disabled.


When I Die, Will There be a Probate?

This is a question that we are asked nearly every day.

Probate is the process of paying the bills and transferring the assets from the dead party to his heirs or distributing the assets in accordance with his will. Minnesota is a Uniform Probate Code State, so this process is not real complicated or expensive.

Probate has nothing to do with taxes.