Kotten Law Firm LLC handles all matters regarding Minnesota estate planning including trusts, wills, and power of attorney. Kotten Law Firm can help guide Personal Representatives along the ropes of the rules and procedures that must be followed for the probate process.
Contact Kotten Law Firm attorney Glen A. Kotten at 612-655-2881.
Imagine for a few minutes what life would be like for your family if you happened to end up with a memory loss disease. How would your children or your spouse handle financial situations without your correct state of mind in place? Think about all the property or wealth that you currently own and what would happen to it. Would your children be given the right inheritance? Would some of it go to the government? There are many unanswered questions or road blocks that may occur with your children or spouse when memory loss diseases come into play. We all know that as we grow older that our bodies will break down, that is just the nature of life on this sinful Earth.
1 Timothy 5:8 is a great example for all parents, because it reminds all to be prepared for the unexpected like memory loss. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” That is why it is so important to setup a Health Care Directive – which is an instrument that directs how your health is to be taken care of in the event of memory loss or disease. I am sure you are aware of a friend who has had a sudden loss or a loved one that loses memory. Your friend probably went through a lot of stress figuring out what to do with the wealth that their loved one had. God wants us to leave an inheritance for our children and part of that is making a plan. He blesses us with gifts all the time, but it is the way in which we use those gifts which allow us to praise him. Proverbs 13:22, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” Part of this passage is telling us to prepare the way for our children by not only bringing them up in the faith, but making sure their life is in good hands when disease or death occurs in the future. Do not wait! Go out in the near future and plan for your children or your spouse so that they may live the good life that you have lived. Preparing an inheritance is one of the most loving thing parents can do to their children or a spouse can give to each other!
(c) Kotten Law Firm LLC – September 15, 2015
What is Copyright?
What is copyright? Well the dictionary definition is this, “the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.” But what does all of that mean? Well you see, when you create something, like a book, poem, painting, or piece of music, it is yours and you are entitled to get money from other people for your effort in creating it. Copyright laws are in place to reassure the creative artist that the government authority will provide protection for the creative work against unauthorized use.
Under copyright law, you have certain rights. You are allowed to make and distribute copies of the works you made. You are also allowed to perform your work in the case of a song or play or anything performable. You can show off or use your work(s) in public too. If someone else tries to do these things with your work(s) without your permission, they are infringing on your rights as the creator of these works and they are breaking the law or have overstepped and wrongfully coveted.
If you are the copyright owner of something, you also have the right to give other people the right to use your works. This is often what is going on in a contract. Someone will offer the creator something (usually money) in order to gain some or all of the rights to the work that was made. This way, the publisher can choose to produce more copies of the work, and sell them on a larger scale than the creator would be able to do by themselves. This is also why if you want to put a song in a video you are making, you need to ask the artist of the song. You can’t just put any song in your video because someone worked hard on that song and they deserve to get credit for its use.
So copyright is really a way to stop people from stealing something that you put a lot of effort into making. It allows you to get what you deserve for your time and effort making a unique creation.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Luke Mayhew: June 10, 2015.
Local Solar Panel Investment Process
In order for a business or individual to have a successful addition of solar panels to their dwelling or office, they must contact a few key resources. The first resource to contact is your public utility organization in the town you reside in or nearby. The public utility organization will discuss the scope of the project with the potential customer to determine what specific information and documents (i.e. application, technical requirements, specifications, applicable rate schedules, metering requirements and potential rebates) will be provided to the potential applicant. The preliminary technical feasibility of the project at the proposed location may also be discussed at this time.
The next step is to file an application to be accepted for the solar panel addition you wish to make. A number of items will need to be submitted on this application in order to be accepted. The application will be reviewed to ensure that the plans and design satisfy the goal of attaining a safe, reliable, efficient interconnection and satisfy the technical requirements for interconnection. Upon completion of the review, your public utility organization will notify the customer of its final acceptance of the customer’s design or an explanation of the technical requirements the design fails to meet. Often, the customer will have to pay for the installation of the metering done by the public utility organization. The customer will have to agree to these terms before being admitted permission for the project. A major benefit to adding solar power to your dwelling or workplace are the rebates one may gain. Beginning in 2014, the Department of Commerce will offer a Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate program. Rebates are 25% of installed costs, with a $2,500 maximum for residential systems, $5,000 maximum for multi-family residential systems, and $25,000 for commercial systems. Approximately half of the budget will be allocated for solar thermal hot water systems and half will be allocated for solar thermal air projects. The components of the system must be manufactured in Minnesota and the solar thermal system must be SRCC certified. In order to better understand the design, price, and paybacks that solar power may enhance your life, it may be smart to contact a local power company to offer a free quote. Solar energy might be the best investment you made for yourself or your business, so do not hesitate to call or ask questions!
INFORMATION NEEDED TO APPLY FOR A BUILDING PERMIT in Sleepy Eye, MN
1. Name of property owner and address.
2. Purpose of the permit.
3. Kind of construction.
4. Cost of the project or estimated cost if actual figures are not available.
5. Names of contractors and license number of general contractor.
6. Site plan should include dimensions of the proposed construction and existing structures as to
width and length. Also include height, number of stories and square footage of the improvement.
This should be done to scale or as close as possible. Is important that the distances from the
front, side and rear lot lines of existing structures and proposed construction are shown.
7. Three sets of plans shall be submitted for all new residential, commercial or industrial buildings or major additions. In most cases detached garages and small utility sheds do not require plans. In instances where a garage is to be attached to an existing building or an addition made to an existing structure, the Building Inspector will determine the information that will be necessary. This requirement shall also apply when facilities other than buildings are to be located within the city. When all pertinent information has been submitted a building permit application will be completed and signed by the property owner or by the contractor on behalf of the property owner. The setbacks will be checked by an authorized City employee and the Building Inspector will review the application and determine what inspections will be required. This process will take about 14 days, provided all necessary information has been included on the application and setbacks have been met. In cases where the inspections by the Building Inspector are required, an inspection sheet will accompany the building permit. It is the responsibility of the property owner or general contractor to contact the inspector no less than twenty-four hours prior to the time the inspection is needed. This link allows people to apply for a building permit. – http://www.sleepyeye-mn.com/vertical/sites/%7BB003959F-CFF4-4F62-8B16-89A8E2D3F6DC%7D/uploads/%7BB34215D2-8489-4C70-AB74-F2D4D1E7633C%7D.HTM
This link will allow people to view the building permit fee schedule – http://www.sleepyeye-mn.com/vertical/sites/%7BB003959F-CFF4-4F62-8B16-89A8E2D3F6DC%7D/uploads/Building_Fee_Schedule.pdf.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Grey J. Davis: May 2, 2015.
“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” (Proverbs 21:10) One of the ways in which we can use our money wisely is protecting what has been given to us. It may be easy to live in the moment and budget our life away, but why not look ahead to the future? Why not save yourself and your loved ones grief by preparing a trust for them. Trusts can be beneficial in numerous ways, but it takes money management along with planning to make the future goal of a trust successful.
Trusts can protect assets from unnecessary taxes, which is why many people are interested in setting one up. An example would be an estate tax or sometimes referred to as the “death tax”. If a trust was set up using the money from the estate, then when you die, the estate will have the opportunity to potentially avoid any estate (death) tax. An example of planning ahead would be setting up a trust fund in your children’s names. When the child or children reach a certain age that you have declared, then they may dip into that fund and receive any aid you have given them. It is a way to give to your children using wise financial decisions by limiting the opportunities they may have to get into greedy temptation by not gifting large amounts of money at one time.
The process may be very confusing, since there are many ways in which you can set up a trust. Some examples of trust assets would be cash, investments, land, property, and personal belongings such as antiques. Some details to know about how trusts work are that trusts usually have three groups they are divided up into. The first is the donor or grantor, who is giving up his or her assets to someone else. The second is trustee, the family members and friends/institution who will decide on how the trust is run according to the legal document of the trust known as the trust deeds or declaration of trust. The last group is called the beneficiary or beneficiaries who will eventually benefit from the trust offered by the donor. We are told in the Bible in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that through he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that through his poverty might become rich.” What a great reminder that the way God gave us salvation is similar to how we can give blessings to our children. Setting up a trust may be confusing and hard to do at first, but the dividends it pays off for the future sometimes can’t be put into words.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Grey J. Davis: February 19, 2015.
Training Children for Wealth Management
The responsibility of a parent can be a great one. Many parents offer guidance, love, and a firm foundation for their children to lean on throughout life. One of the key building blocks parents try to live by is teaching their children how to use money effectively. Proverbs 22:6 instructs parents to teach your children in every aspect of life by saying, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” As Christian parents, you know that what we own is God’s, which includes the wealth he has given us. This wealth is often passed down from generation to generation. When there is a block in the pipeline from parent to child, the wealth management habits are removed from passing it onto the next generation. The guardianship of children section will show the great importance on how parents should plan for their children’s future through financial means.
The first step parents need to make in an effort to teach their children is to live as a model. Just as Christ lived as a model for all people on earth to live, parents are the model to be followed by children. As children grow up they become very informed as to how their parents go about living life. Think about the different aspects of beliefs or life that are similar to your parents. One may think of political, religious, or even as basic as a sports team. These interests or beliefs are passed down to the child due to the modeling that has gone on from an early age. The same is true with the way in which parents use money in their household. If the parents use their money very carelessly, then the child will be brought up in a home where money is blown away as soon as the paycheck is given out on payday. Modeling is the building block all parents need to become aware of, so that their children may be blessed with financial success in the future.
The next step is for parents to instruct how their children should use their money to glorify God. Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs parents to teach their children by saying, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” What this passage is telling all parents to do is to train your child in Christian living. Apply this bible passage to bringing your children up in financial knowledge. Make an effort daily to show your children how to value the gifts God has given us. An example would be taking your children into a grocery store. At a young age, children know that when they venture down the candy isle, they want what is sweet to the tooth. Of course it is not wrong to buy something that you like, but using all of your money to buy candy or some other foolish thing in life may not be the wisest thing to do. Open up the eyes of your children by instructing them that there are more important things in life to put money towards such as the daily needs we hold as essential for human life.
The last step that takes place for parents to take is helping their children through practical examples of money management. At a young age it may be very beneficial to give your children an allowance so that they know how to use their money. Let your children experiment with the small amount of money they are given to use it on their wants, needs and giving towards the Lord. By the time they are in high school, they can take the next step by opening up a checking or credit card account. Different investment options could also be taken into account depending on the financial resources you or your children have. Certain jobs open up more possibilities, so it is important to instill in your children a need to go to work and provide. Spend time talking about finances with your children, because parents are accountable for the way in which their children spend their money. Some parents think it is the teacher’s job to instruct people how to use money when it is the parent’s job. Prepare your children for life by giving them a good head start through your financial blessings and teaching them the valuable tools that they need to become successful by glorifying God who blessed them.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Grey J. Davis: December 30, 2014.
Charitable Giving (how much?)
Charitable giving is a way in which people can give back what they have earned to others who may not have what they have. Numerous incentives exist for charitable giving such as tax breaks, social well-being, or spiritual growth. There are many ways to give back to others who are less fortunate, but what is the best way to determine the amount we are to give?
Donating or giving money away is what God says he wants in a believer. It isn’t how much we give or what we give, but rather what we give in our hearts that pleases God. Think about how much money you make in a month. Now think about how much Bill Gates makes in a month. God doesn’t put a restriction on how much we are to give to him for this reason right there. Every person is different and brings in different amounts of money to his or her family. He says in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” It is important to note that we are to give to God with what we receive as first fruits. Think about receiving a free pizza. You did nothing to deserve this, but the pizza was given to you in your name. You could either share the pizza right off the bat by cutting pieces for your friends or you could eat as many pieces of pizza as you can and then give the rest to your friends. Which of the two scenarios do you think is out of love and would be more appreciated by your friends? It is obvious that cutting the pieces right away is more out of love. No one wants the leftovers in our heart, because that isn’t giving what we have chosen in our heart to give. Same thing goes for God’s wealth. We may work for the money that is given to us in our paycheck, but that money is ultimately God’s.
Think about how you were blessed in the past and the talents you have received to acquire that money. All this is God’s, so out of love we will want to give back to him in our hearts using our first fruits he has given us to praise him. When giving, you feel better when you decide what you want to give out of your heart rather than giving something that you don’t feel comfortable giving. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we are told that, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It is all about the attitude in which we bring our gifts to God. Even if it is a small amount, but in our hearts we feel like we gave the world to God, then this is what he wants. There are no strict percentages of income that we are instructed by God to give him, but rather what we believe in our hearts we should give him based off of the first fruits we receive.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Grey J. Davis: December 3, 2014.
Budgeting and Prioritizing
Preparing a budget is the single most important thing a couple can do when starting out a new family. It may be troubling at first to connect on the same level due to different spending habits and addressing the needs of each other and future family needs, but it is vital in seeing financial success. Even if you are a couple who have been married for quite some time, it is healthy to sit down and discuss where the needs are for your family and making a budget to stretch every dollar that is brought in through means of income.
The first piece of advice given to those starting a budget it to prioritize what you need and what you want. Putting needs before wants will tell you where your money should go first. If you don’t have enough money at a certain time to spend on what you want, then saving is a good technique to get in the habit of doing. Saving isn’t always the easiest thing to do especially if you have been a spender for most of your life. How you handle your money says a lot about you as a person and those who manage their wealth well have a higher stander of living in this world. One way to save your money is by the way you spend it on food or clothing. Take a minute and think about the numerous things you spend your money on daily such as food. Do you always buy that $5 cup of coffee every morning? Think about how much money you could be saving if you just made your own coffee at home. If you buy that cup of coffee each day, the total month bill for coffee could total to $130-$150. That money could have been going to something more important such as gas money or food for your family. The price you pay for the food in your family can also be monitored by not buying name brand goods. Buying whatever is the cheapest brand in the grocery store is often the same thing as buying the most expensive brand in the store. There are so many ways you can limit spending, but setting up a budget is the most important, because it allows you to see where you are putting your money right now as well as adjusting your spending to fit the needs of your family. Budgeting is what is stressed by God when he is telling us to use our money wisely. If we have great wealth management, then we will be able to utilize every dollar earned from our income so that we can live a better life and give back to him what he has given us.
There are certain things to consider while making your budget; the first would be saving money for emergencies. It may be tough to handle medical bills, a car breaking down, or even a plane ticket to attend a funeral. The bottom line is that we can’t predict the future, so we must plan financially for bad things to happen. The fact is that it is possible for your car to break down on the side of the road in the winter. We may not know what to do at this moment, because we have never had this happen before. We fail to realize that we should have saved money for the repairs needed to ensure every day travel. Can you imagine not having a car for over a week, because you didn’t have the money to fix it? You wouldn’t be able to get a ride to work or pick up your children from school. You may not even have transportation to get food from the store. Do you see how important it is to save money for the unexpected future? Making a place in your budget for emergencies allows the budget planner to be assured that there is money to be found if caught in a bind. This money isn’t borrowed or lent out by someone, but is free for the taking from your own personal account for times in need.
Another simple tip about spending is to use cash whenever possible. In our world of paperless money, it is often hard or even inconvenient to get your hands on paper money. Think about the last time you went shopping and how you felt at the register when you swiped your credit card. Now think of the same situation, but using cash rather than a credit card. Which one do you think was harder to do? It was obviously using cash instead of using plastic. We know that when we see paper money leave our hands that we realize more clearly how much money is leaving the tips of our fingertips. Using cash at the register allows us to think out the process of the purchase rather than nonchalantly buying anything at will without thinking about the outcome.
Another idea to take into consideration is to cut bad habits. A purchase that racks up the monthly bill is tobacco or alcohol. Think about the future rather than what you need now. These two things can lead down the road to medical problems not to mention that they are very expensive. A person could be saving hundreds to thousands of dollars a year if these things were trimmed.
In conclusion, make an effort to remove any debts that you owe. Reducing the debt would leave you feeling better about yourself rather than feeling like you are in a hole financially. You want to make every effort to reach out of the hole you are in and move towards a debt free life. Budgeting and drowning yourself in wisdom is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Rely on the worlds of Solomon when considering changing the way your family uses your money. Proverbs 17:16 says, “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” Let us not be foolish with what God has given us and spread the wealth as far as it reaches to glorify our Father in heaven.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Grey J. Davis: November 25th, 2014.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Wealth management may be one of the most overlooked areas in life, but is our foundation for our daily living here on earth. In order for a household to be in standing order, it is vital for parents to have a financial plan for every asset of life. Not only is it smart to plan for the future, but God also commands us to be wise with how we use the gifts he has given all people. In Proverbs 13:11 he says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Wealth management covers a broad range of topics, but it comes down to the fact that what we have been given has been given to us by God and what better way to use those gifts then by planning for the future.
When someone throws out the phrase, “planning for the future,” the terms, trusts, wills, Roth IRA’s, or other forms of investments come to mind. At first, one might say, “why would I need any of those?” Looking deeper into the studies of these investments, the viewer will be able to understand how he or she can increase their wealth based on these areas in which our world allows us to expand our gifts we have been given. Planning for the future takes out that selfish attitude that makes us think only in the present when planning for the future is what God instructs us to do with our blessings. Investing what we have been given is one way we can plan wisely for our future.
A family is built around parents who are the foundation, which means that it is the parent’s duty to support the family through financial means, sustain the family members throughout life even when the parents die by teaching the children how to lead a life through smart wealth management so the chain may continue to many generations. Money often is a touchy subject due to the fact that we are greedy people, but charity is something every human being should give. By choosing what you feel in your heart to give, you are giving your best to the Lord. This fits into the theme of our wealth management section, because where we find treasures in our life is where our heart will be. If our minds are focused on Christ, then our hearts are focused on Christ. Now that our hearts are focused on Christ, we will want to give and plan financially, not acting selfishly, but solely fixing our hearts on Christ’s purpose for us.
There are moments in our lives that we fail or have unfortunate events that take place such as a failed investment or a natural disaster. We may fall into debt, which means we have to have a strict plan to climb up the well we are trapped in. Eliminating debt starts off with a heart focused on Christ and strict budgeting. Budgeting allows every person to stretch every dollar in their accounts. Is this a way we are using our talents? Yes, in fact by budgeting, we are making full use of the blessings he has entrusted to us.
The full picture goal of wealth management is to provide a lasting legacy of financial wisdom and success to future generations. In order to accomplish this, parents must first learn how to use their wealth in a way that will not only help them in the present, but help them in the future. Having a plan for your children is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children, because it will fix their hearts on Christian living, sustain and show how to use money, and leave whatever you have been given on earth to the ones you love the most. Our thoughts on wealth management stem out of the teachings Christ has given to us in the Bible as well as financial principles. As we dig deeper into sub categories of wealth management, think of ways in which you can improve your daily life so that the financial resources you have been blessed with are being optimized to their maximum potential.
© Kotten Law Firm LLC by Glen A. Kotten, Esq. and Grey J. Davis: November 20th, 2014.