In this May 2019 issue, you will find the following articles:
 
- Chad A. Fett, CTFA, CFP®
 
- Peter Tiede 
 
- Rick Robbins
 
 

 

SO, YOU HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN. WHOM SHOULD THE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN FALL ON?

Typically, we look to designate a prudent and dependable family member to act as executor or trustee of our estate. However, is that the wisest choice? Even if we have no concerns about our beneficiaries fighting over our assets, is it fair to place that administrative burden on a loved one, when they are likely not prepared to deal with the day-to-day responsibilities and are grieving the loss of a loved one?

To achieve your estate planning goals it is important to choose your trustee wisely. A good trustee will exercise sound judgement, be fair, and follow the terms of your trust as you have created them. A corporate trustee checks all of these boxes and is an excellent option to consider. Here are some advantages of designating a corporate trustee:
  • Ensures trust purpose. Whether the primary purpose is to provide asset protection for your beneficiary, or preserve assets for a spendthrift beneficiary or for future generations, a corporate trustee will administer your trust in good faith and in accordance with the terms and purposes, you have established in your trust agreement.
  • Avoid negative family dynamics. Unfortunately, we have seen how family dynamics can quickly change when dealing with the loss of a family member and, as a result, their assets. Therefore, you should consider the relationship between the trustee and your beneficiaries. Will your trustee be comfortable standing up to your beneficiary if necessary? In tricky family circumstances, the best option for the trustee may be an unrelated third party, a corporate trustee.
  • Eliminating the administrative burden. Even if we are not dealing with a tricky family dynamics, there is still a substantial burden placed on the family member who is designated as a trustee. It requires a substantial amount of time, knowledge and emotional strength. A corporate trustee can eliminate this burden and allow the family to focus on the dealing with the loss of the loved one.
  • Judgment and experience. A corporate trustee will exercise sound judgment in making investment and distribution decisions. Depending on the level and type of assets in your trust, the investment experience of the trustee can be important. A corporate trustee experienced in handling such assets, and acting as the investment advisor, can increase returns.
  • Fairness. The lack of a conflict of interest with a corporate trustee helps ensure that the trust will be administered fairly.
  • Attention to Detail. Managing assets and keeping track of distributions and other trust matters requires a certain level of experience, accountability and attention to detail. An experienced corporate trustee can provide this attention to detail.
  • Tax factors. If your trust is part of an estate tax reduction strategy, there may be important tax considerations in choosing your trustee.

First State Bank and Trust has an experienced trust department that works with clients throughout the St. Croix Valley. They have years of experience in dealing with complex financial issues and are prepared to assist you with your executor or trustee needs. We invite you to contact us at 651-351-3760 if you have any questions about the type of services that we provide.

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WATCH OUT FOR UNINTENDED LIENS

Business owners are aware that a bank or other lender extending credit to a business will often take a lien on their equipment, inventory, accounts receivable or other assets. It is a very standard lending arrangement for most small and medium sized businesses. However, many business owners are surprised to find that they may have unintentionally granted similar liens in other contracts and written documents. Those unintended liens can cause major headaches.
 
Several times a year while reviewing contracts, we will come across either a commercial lease, or sometimes even a supplier/purchase agreement type contract that contains language granting a lien on a specific asset, and occasionally, on all of the assets of one of the parties. The provision is usually buried in small print, near the end of a form contract. In many cases even the party proposing the contract may not even realize the language is there or what the significance of the language might be.
 
Regardless of what the parties intended, when that language is found in a written contract, it can pose real problems for the party that has unintentionally granted the lien. First, most of the time lender loan documents say that no other liens can be granted by the borrower. Such a lien can constitute an unintentional violation of the loan. Lenders do not always call a loan for this kind of violation, but generally they have that right, and it is an unpleasant surprise for a borrower to find out about an unintended lien after it has already been granted. Second, of course, granting a lien means that someone holds a lien on the business’s assets. If you get in a dispute with that other party and they pull out the lien language, now they not only have a claim against your company, but they can assert the right to take your business assets. The obvious problems this causes for a business are only compounded by the fact that if someone starts trying to take the business assets, the lender is virtually certain to become interested in what is going on. Now the business has two problems.
 
Reviewing contracts is always a challenge for businesses because it is expensive and so much of the language is boilerplate. Nevertheless, this is an area for care. When you enter into contracts, whether they are leases, master services agreements, or another type of agreement, read the document carefully to make sure that it does not have lien language; or that if it does, it is lien language you understand and have agreed to. And, make sure that any lien language that you agree to does not put you into covenant default with your lender. A quick call to your lender is often the best way to be sure that you will not create a default with the lender.
 
Peter Tiede practices law in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and River Falls, Wisconsin, concentrating in commercial matters, lending, real estate, and local government.

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BREWERY TAPS UNIQUE EMPLOYEE RESOURCE

The Hop and Barrel Brewing Co., located in the heart of Hudson, is a fun place where people gather to enjoy some great craft beers. Bright and early three mornings a week, Nathaniel Johnson is hard at work getting the taproom cleaned up and ready to go for today’s guests. Co-Owners Justin Terbeest and Brian Priefer appreciate his dependability and attention to detail.
 
With Wisconsin’s current unemployment rate hovering around three percent, businesses in all sectors often find it challenging to hire enough qualified workers to keep their operations running smoothly.

That’s why Brian and Justin say it was great when Nathaniel Johnson applied for and was hired for their part-time janitorial position just two weeks before the brewery opened at the end of 2017. Nathaniel says he loves his work at this “small brewery with big plans for craft beer.”
 
“Nathaniel has a great work ethic and we love having him here,” said Brian. “He is an important member of our team. One time, we had a surprise health inspection and were told that our place is cleaner than the cleanest restaurants he had ever seen. We have Nathaniel to thank for that.”
 
Could your company benefit from some job placement and support services?Let the professional employment consultants from Rise assist you in finding just the right employees for your open positions. Rise has formed working partnerships throughout the St. Croix Valley, with businesses across all fields and all sizes – from small, family-owned companies to Fortune 500 corporations.

We can offer area employers motivated, dependable, hard-working people who will help contribute to your company’s bottom line.
 
Rise also can provide job training, accommodations advice, and follow-up support services as necessary to ensure that both you and the employee are mutually satisfied.
 
Contact us today!
Rick Robbins, Program Director 715-246-8299 / rrobbins@rise.org
Patty Thurk, Employment Consultant 651-983-5774 / pthurk@rise.org
 
And we hope you can join us on Wednesday, June 12 from 4:30-7 p.m. for Rise’s Tapping Into Possibilities “friend-raiser” event at the Hops & Barrel, 310 – 2nd Street in downtown Hudson. There will be great craft beers, lively music, fun games and prizes, and lots of really nice people to meet! Tickets can be purchased in advance at the link below, or at the door.  Hope to see you there!


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