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Martens PLLC Blog

Notary Services

Remote Notarization

So in these interesting times of the COVID-19 (C-19) outbreak, you're being responsible, doing your part to socially distance, staying at home, with bank lobbies and other offices closed, but you need a document notarized, or you're a notary and have someone who needs a document notarized, but you can't get to them, or they to you, for you to witness the execution. What to do...

COVID-19 Action Plan & Pending Matters

With the evolving situation in North Dakota, particularly in the Bismarck-Mandan metropolitan area, last week we revised our plan and operations to effectively carry on the course of business and representation of our clients, while continuing to exercise caution for everyone's health and safety in these interesting times. We strongly encourage you to follow us on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) for updates as the situation continues to rapidly evolve.

Why a revocable living trust? Isn't a will enough?

You have a lot of decisions to make when creating your estate plan. One of them involves whether a will is enough to meet your goals. For some North Dakota residents, a will is enough to fulfill their wishes, but that does not hold true for everyone.

Someone may have mentioned to you that you could use a revocable living trust, but you aren't sure why you would need one. Under certain circumstances, a trust would provide the better option.

Couples without children still need strong estate plans

Many people underestimate their need for a good estate plan or even a basic will. If you are married but don't have children, you may think the same thing. After all, if you pass away, your spouse will inherit your money and possessions, right? What will happen if both of you pass away? It's worthwhile to put careful consideration into a plan for the future. 

It's not always easy to make estate planning decisions. These are choices that often pertain to what will happen after you pass away, which you may find unpleasant or foreboding. Even if you do not consider yourself wealthy or you believe that your estate is not that extensive, you will find many benefits to crafting a plan that will allow you to maintain control over what happens. This is a prudent step for all North Dakota couples, even those without children.

Canadian Summer Vacation Gone Awry

With summer officially underway, in late June most Americans are getting the bunting and fireworks ready for Independence Day on July 4.  However, some among us like to head north to the wilds of Canada for outdoor adventures, sporting events, fries and gravy, and maybe even some of their infamous moonshine-like beer. So, with Canada Day right around the corner, it seems like as good a time as any to address one of the occasional inquiries we field from people who don't want to get turned away by the Mounties - especially in light of some changes in Canadian law this past year.

4 possible signs of undue influence in estate planning

Even though death is a part of life, dealing with the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. If you believe your loved one’s will does not accurately reflect his or her wishes, though, you may be in for additional heartache. You may also be at risk of losing your fair share of the estate. 

Provided you have legal standing to contest the will, North Dakota’s probate courts allow you to present evidence of undue influence. Generally, undue influence occurs when someone puts impermissible pressure on the person drafting the will. As you may suspect, the consequences of undue influence can be extreme. Here are four possible signs undue influence may be present in your loved one’s will: 

How to behave at DUI checkpoints

There have been some efforts in recent years to outlaw DUI checkpoints in North Dakota. Until that time comes, drivers need to be aware of when a checkpoint will pop up. They also need to know their rights any time they come across these passages. 

The best piece of advice is to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. A DUI conviction can ruin a person's life, so whether you are sober or not, here are the steps to take any time you come across a checkpoint. 

Tips for administering an estate

If a friend or family member designates you as a personal representative or executor of his or her estate, you may feel thankful and honored. Having someone trust you with the duty of administering his or her assets can be a blessing. However, it can also be confusing and stressful as you figure out what you need to do.

Essentially, estate administration involves collecting assets, paying debts and distributing assets to heirs. Take heed of these tips for administering an estate properly. 

Thinking about buying a foreclosure? Read this first

The North Dakota real estate market is hot, with plenty of investment opportunities for both sellers and buyers. Thanks to low interest rates and other factors, many potential homeowners are expanding their search to include foreclosures. While there is nothing wrong with purchasing foreclosed properties, without a fair amount of research, it could turn into a nightmare that has far-reaching financial consequences. 

What is a foreclosure? 

Does your estate planning cover your pets?

Planning for the care of your beloved pets if you die before them is not as simple as it is in the movies, where wealthy pet owners often leave their fortunes to their furry family members. However, including your pets in your estate planning does not need to be complex, either. A pet trust should be able to cover the needs of pet lovers in North Dakota.

The law considers pets to be property, so yours can’t inherit an estate. You could simply leave Whiskers or Patches to one of your relatives in your will, but a pet trust gives you more flexibility and options for stating your precise wishes as to your pet’s continued well-being.