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Rochester Business & Commercial Law Blog

Including cryptocurrency in your estate plan

From real estate to items with sentimental value and financial accounts, there are all sorts of things people have to consider when creating an estate plan and deciding how their assets will be split up between beneficiaries. In the digital age, a number of new opportunities have arisen and some may require taking a second look at an estate plan. For example, those who have invested in cryptocurrency may want to include these assets in their estate plan. if you have significant cryptocurrency assets, it is essential for you to protect these assets as with all others.

There are a number of things you may need to consider with regard to cryptocurrency assets and your estate plan. For example, some of your family members may be very familiar with these digital assets, while others may not even be aware that such a currency exists. When deciding how to split up your assets, you may want to think about which of your family members will benefit from and appreciate these assets the most. Moreover, the cryptocurrency market can be very volatile, so it is important to keep this in mind when making decisions related to these investments and your estate plan.

Effective estate planning under the latest tax laws

When people begin to plan their estate in Minnesota, they may be under the impression that transferring financial assets is rather seamless if they plan far enough in advance. However, what they should remember is that tax laws may affect this transfer in terms of what their heirs are required to pay in order to own something for which they were named in the estate. When people take thoughtful consideration while allotting assets, they may be better able to prevent outrageous tax requirements from hindering their heirs' ability to acquire what is rightfully theirs. 

In December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, which could ultimately affect the process of planning an estate. For individuals who have high net worth, they may benefit from using methods like charitable giving, selling instead of giving, shifting income or even delaying capital gains taxation in an attempt to reduce their income taxes. Using such methods may also reduce the amount of tax their heirs will be required to pay on acquired assets following their loved one's death. Despite changes in the law, generation-skipping transfer, estate and gift taxes are still at a flat 40 percent rate. 

What can you do when someone doesn't fulfill a business contract?

Doing business means handling a lot of different concerns at the same time. You need to balance the budget, ensure there is sufficient work to keep your staff working and constantly pursue new contracts and growth. You do your best to uphold your side of any deal or contract. After all, your profits and your reputation are on the line otherwise.

Sadly, it's relatively common for companies and contractors to violate or fail to fulfill the terms of a business contract. When that happens, it can leave your business in a difficult position. Thankfully, a written contract also provides you with a means of seeking restitution for that failure and its impact on your company.

Using estate planning to prevent strife in blended families

Since your remarriage in Minnesota, your first estate plan has become obsolete. It may be that the challenges of modifying it or creating a new one have you procrastinating about the task, though. We at the law firm of Dunlap & Seeger often provide advice to those who want to ensure that they have made the right estate planning decisions for their blended families.

According to the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, there are a number of hurdles you may face as a parent in a blended family. One of the most common may be hard feelings between your minor or adult child and your new spouse. Both may expect you to provide for them in your will, and each may expect you to allot more to him or her than to the other. 

Should you hire employees or independent contractors?

As a new business owner in Minnesota, the idea of hiring employees when you are in the early stages may seem like a good way to raise costs. However, you need the help of others to get all the work done. Could hiring independent contractors be the answer?

A false step in this process could lead to serious penalties, so it is crucial to consider the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. The Society for Human Resource Management explains some of the distinctions.

Changing the executor of your estate

Setting up an estate plan can be tricky for a multitude of reasons. Aside from stress and uncertainty, some people have a hard time figuring out who should be named the executor or how assets should be divided among loved ones. In some instances, estate plans need to be given a second look. For example, there are a number of circumstances in which the person who has been named the executor will need to be removed from the estate plan and a new executor will need to be identified. For people in Rochester, and across all cities in Minnesota, these issues can be difficult to work through, but it is essential to make the right decisions with regard to your estate.

Changing the person who is named the executor of your estate plan may be necessary because the person has passed away. However, there are other reasons you may come to this decision, such as their behavior or because you went through a divorce. It is important to identify the person who is most capable of handling their fiduciary duties and ensuring that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. During this time, it can be helpful to thoroughly discuss these issues with the person who you are considering naming as the executor to make sure that they are aware of their responsibilities.

Defining merger strategies

For those looking to build and grow businesses in Rochester, merging with another company may seem like an attractive option. Business leaders across the world in engage in such talks every day, as evidenced by the fact that the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances reports that as recently as 2015, there were over 44,000 of such transactions valued at over $4.5 trillion that occurred worldwide. The increase in actual as well as intrinsic value (not to mention market share) that can come with combining with a competitor may have many thinking that such a move is a no-brainer. However, such transactions can easily prove to be too complex for people to manage. 

Information provided by Forbes Magazine offers advice on how to successfully manager a merger. Its recommendations include: 

  • Carefully consider internal reporting lines to avoid too much tension from developing between the staffs of newly combined companies
  • Pay extra attention to the time and resources needed to merge financial management systems
  • Keep employees updated regarding changes and have the short- and long-term goals of the acquisition clearly defined
  • Have a plan in place to deal with the initial upheaval and turnover
  • Focus equal effort to retaining current customers as is given to entering new markets

A buy-sell agreement is a prenup for your company

When you and your spouse got married, you signed a prenuptial agreement. You hoped the marriage would last, but you were realistic. You knew it may end in divorce, and you wanted to make sure you protected your own assets and interests. It was easier to agree on things while you were still on good terms, rather than waiting for the divorce.

Company concerns

Qualify for Medicaid without reducing your net worth

People in Minnesota may assume that one day, perhaps at some point after an eightieth birthday, for example, they will need long-term care. They may be counting on retirement funds to pay for the care they need. However, even those with an impressive investment portfolio may not be able to afford the kind of care that they imagine they will have. 

According to Forbes magazine, one study on the costs of long-term care found that the median cost of a year in a private room in a nursing home is over $90,000. Even a shared room is over $80,000. Hiring an in-home health aide or moving to assisted living has a price tag in the mid-$40,000 range. 

What financial documents are needed in a divorce case?

Divorce in Minnesota requires a husband and a wife to fully disclose their assets and liabilities. This means that you need to collect financial documents such as checking and savings account statements, tax records, credit card statements, other debt invoices, retirement and pension benefit reports, pay checks and bonuses, stock and bond statements, investment records, mortgage notes, bank loans, medical bills, inheritance records, health and dental insurance costs, life insurance values, property tax statements, home appraisals, automobile and recreational vehicle values, jewelry assessments, tool values, and business records and then disclose these documents with your spouse during the divorce process. It is also helpful to create a list of the more valuable assets in the home that are marital and non-marital in nature. Some individuals find it helpful to take pictures and/or video of the assets that are in the marital home for record keeping purposes. Gathering this information up front will not only better prepare you for the divorce process, it will assist your divorce attorney in being a better advocate for you as you proceed through your divorce matter.

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