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I am an Estate Planning & Elder law Attorney with the law firm of Fafinski, Mark & Johnson in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. As part of the FMJ team, I meet with clients to design, draft, and execute legal documents (Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Directives). I also offer educational presentations on estate planning and elder law topics in the Twin Cities community.
I bring my high energy level, assertive personality, and sense of humor into all I do. Outside of a professional context, I am a Delano Area Youth Hockey Association coach, a Minnesota Gopher and Minnesota Wild aficionado, a pond hockey enthusiast, and an avid reader/movie connoisseur.
Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Fafinski, Mark & Johnson
Messerli & Kramer P.A.
Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney
Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.
Maser, Amundson & Boggio, P.A.
Maser, Amundson, Boggio & Hendricks, P.A.
At Maser, Amundson, Boggio & Hendricks, I handled legal research tasks for the elder law practice group. Research project areas included taxation, special needs trusts/planning, elder abuse and various benefits qualification/application issues. Additionally, I wrote and edited blog posts on elder law topics for publication upon Maserlaw.com, as well as helping develop and edit presentation material.
Pemberton Law Firm
As a Summer Associate at Pemberton Law, my duties primarily consisted of legal research, document review, and memo drafting. My experience with Pemberton, one of Minnesota's oldest established firms, offered exposure to numerous areas of law including family, real estate, estate planning, and employment/labor law. In my capacity as a Summer Associate, I was able to observe and assist with client interviews, mediations, discovery, and other client communication tasks.
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota School of Law
J.D. (2017) | Law
Honors: UST Mission Award: Service & Community, Dean's Scholarship
Activities: UST Fightin' Apostles Hockey President & Participant
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
B.A. (2014) | Political Science, Leadership
Mission Award: Service and Community
University of St. Thomas School of Law
The Mission Award for Service and Community recognizes members of the UST School of Law community who have shown exceptional service or leadership through living out UST's Mission of commitment to improving the lives of members within our law school community and/or in our local, parish, cultural or global communities.
State Bar of Minnesota
Minnesota State Bar Association
Dementia, Impairment, and the Capacity to Sign Legal Documents, Individual Event: Ethics CEU for Social Workers
Estate Planning 101, Individual Event @ First Evangelical Free Church
Elderly Waiver & Medical Assistance, Individual Event @ Hillcrest of Wayzata Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.
Protecting Yourself Against Senior Scams, Individual Event @ Westridge of Minnetonka
Elder Law: Insight from an Elder Law Associate, Minneapolis Area Senior Workers Association (MASWA) Monthly Membership Meeting
A: Obtaining a death certificate in Minnesota is a pretty simple process. The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining death records. Each county has its own office location.
To receive death certificates you must complete an application requesting the certificates, provide valid identification, and pay the fee. Only people with a "tangible interest" may request a death certificate, which means you must be the subject of the record, a child, grandchild or great-grandchild, the current spouse, a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent, or a sibling. Health Care Agents, Guardians, Conservators, Personal Representatives, and Trustees may also request certificates. An authorized representative of any of the the above relationships/roles may also make the request if they have a signed statement from the original interest holder. This is governed by Minnesota Statute 144.225 Subd. 7. It may be possible that said girlfriend falls under one of the above interests.
I would recommend contacting an attorney about the above issue. If your father's girlfriend was able to collect non-probate assets, it would appear that she may be named as your father's primary beneficiary. It is typical for assets like IRAs and 401Ks to have beneficiary designations that only require a potential beneficiary to provide a death certificate and complete some paperwork. If he designated her as the primary beneficiary, she is rightfully entitled to these assets.
A: I'm unsure why this is posted in the Minnesota jurisdiction, but the answer should generally be "no". A Trust is a vehicle designed specifically to avoid probate, no matter where it is created or where the person who created it (called the Settlor or Trustor) passes away.
The issue MAY be that the Settlor/Trustor failed to properly title ownership of all of his or her assets into the Trust. Most estate planning attorneys that draft Trusts include a document called a Pour Over Will. This document would require a probate to transition assets from the decedent's name individually into their Trust following death.
An asset amount should not trigger a probate on its own if the Trust properly holds title to the assets comprising the $2.1 million you reference. It would best to seek the counsel of an attorney that practices in probate and trust administration matters in Washington.
A: The answer to this should be pretty straightforward, despite the complexity of the applicable rules. The process you are referencing is called "Estate Recovery". The County brings forward a claim they have had for your father's receipt of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) benefits following your mother's passing. In a married couple situation, the County will not bring a claim upon the first spouse's death. This all appears to be appropriate factually.
The amount of Medical Assistance paid does have a high priority in terms of claims paid from an estate. It would be wise to work with a Probate attorney to make sure that all potential claims are handled correctly. With your mother's estate not being able to pay for the entirety of the claim, it will be considered insolvent.
You and your siblings WILL NOT be responsible for any claims against your mother's estate. Medical Assistance will not pursue a claim outside of the one that you received notice of against your mother's estate. Liability for debts of a person DO NOT flow to their children during a Probate process.