I recently read the popular business self-help book, Crucial conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High and realized that its principles for dealing with difficult conversations are applicable not only to business conversations, but also to difficult conversations that may be required in well-functioning families. For example, how can adult children successfully talk with elderly parents about their wishes for health care, funeral arrangements and final disposition of their assets at death?
Minnesota law has recently been updated to allow people to name a beneficiary on the title of a motor vehicle. An owner of a motor vehicle can use a Transfer of Death (TOD) designation to transfer title to a motor vehicle to a beneficiary of the owner's choosing after the owner's death. A TOD beneficiary has no interest in the motor vehicle until the death of the owner(s). The owner(s) may therefore sell the vehicle or change the beneficiary designation at any time without the consent of any beneficiary. This is a powerful new tool for people to use to ensure that their assets pass to their loved ones in the most efficient way possible after their death.
The Minnesota legislature recently passed a law that allows Minnesotans to create a trust for the care of an animal. Pet owners now have additional tools at their disposal to ensure that their beloved pets will be cared for according to their wishes after they pass away.
In Minnesota if you become temporarily or permanently unable to make your own health care decisions there is no one with the legal authority to make health care decisions for you after you turn eighteen. For that reason, all adults need a health care directive.
The senior year of high school is an exciting time that usually includes preparation for adult life after graduation. Although estate planning probably does not appear on most high school senior's to-do lists since they are young and healthy, executing a Health Care Directive and a financial Power of Attorney should be included on the to-do list after the student's eighteenth birthday.
Making end-of-life plans may be way down your to-do list. You're young, you're healthy, you're just starting out, you have plenty of time. The last thing you want to think about is your death. Unfortunately, the reality is that accidents happen every day and not everyone walks away from them. Take the time to prepare for that "just-in-case" scenario by making your end-of-life wishes clear.
Summer is here! For many Minnesotans summer means fun in the sun (and sometimes rain) at the family cabin. More than just a place to relax or recreate, the cabin is often also a repository of family tradition and memories. Unfortunately, the cabin can also become a source of family conflict when it is time to transition ownership of the cabin from the parents to the next generation. It is often said that "failing to plan is planning to fail" and that is especially true when trying to pass the cabin to the next generation.
What happens to your electronic accounts and digital assets when you die? Or, if you suddenly become incapacitated, who could take care of your online accounts?
For some people, the thought of drafting a will may be perceived as an overwhelming task because they may consider the process of cataloging all of their assets and allocating them to specific individuals to be an endless undertaking. As with many other jobs that can appear to be too large for one person to accomplish, writing a will can be streamlined by developing a strategy for tackling this chore. Rather than focusing on the end product, individuals who have separated the process into smaller components find success in completing one step and moving onto another. Rather than being haphazard and rushed, this deliberate process can create a detailed document that suits your needs and promotes peace of mind in your beneficiaries.