July 2013 Newsletter

 In Law Firm Updates


Happy summer (finally!) from the team here at the Law Offices of Daniel J. Brazil, P.A. We hope this email finds everyone safe and sound – and with power – after last weekend’s storms.

A lot has been happening around the legal field and our office. We wanted to reach out with a few updates that may affect you.

First, we want to reiterate our service offerings. From our office in The Clifton Mansion (you do remember we moved, right?), we are currently handling cases involving:

With the addition of law clerk Luis E. Rangel Morales in August, we aim to expand our services further into the Hispanic community, as well as handle cases in other areas such as employment law. If you find yourself in need of an attorney, we hope you turn to our team to help you. And if you find you need an incentive to get things moving, we’re offering a discount through September for estate planning services.

Within the legal arena, we wanted to let you know about updates affecting immigration and estate planning. Read below for more information!

On a personal note, legal assistant Rosie Guzman has taken another position outside of our company. We wish Rosie the best in her new career and will miss having her here with us.

So that’s about it from us here. We wish you a happy and fun-filled summer, and we hope to see you soon.

Meet Luis

We are happy to announce that Luis E. Rangel Morales will be joining our team as a law clerk in mid-August. Luis recently graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School with a concentration in Labor and Employment Law. During law school, Luis worked as a Legal Writing Instructor and Research Assistant, clerked for the Office of the General Counsel for the University of Minnesota, assisted individuals facing unemployment hearings or Fair Labor Standards Act disputes in the University of Minnesota Workers’ Rights Clinic, and served as an advocate for the Neighborhood Justice Center (a nonprofit criminal defense organization). Luis brings with him a wealth of experience and a dedication to helping others.

In his spare time, you can find Luis watching soccer or basketball, taking classes to learn new skills or working on a puzzle with his partner. In general, he’s a pretty laid back guy who is going to fit right in with our team. We’re excited to have him join us!

Immigration Reform Updates

On May 20th, the Prosperity Act was signed into law here in Minnesota. That makes Minnesota the 15th state to approve legislation that makes the dreams of higher education a reality for immigrant students. Even more impressive is the fact that Minnesota is only the fourth in the nation to offer state financial aid.

With this win in immigration reform at the state level, we can’t help but turn our attention to what is currently happening at the national level. This past Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill offered by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” a group originally consisting of four Senate Democrats and four Senate Republicans. The Gang of Eight’s reform bill attempts to address the numerous issues currently at stake within the immigration field. Of most importance are four main aspects of the bill:

  • Creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, which also includes a quicker path for immigrants who are highly skilled in certain industries or those who have obtained a higher education degree
  • Putting in place a new process of getting citizenship, first starting with documented immigrants and then moving to undocumented immigrants
  • Increasing border security and enforcement measures
  • Implementing an employee verification system to better assist employers

Debates focused around two issues: the order of implementation and the role of security. As written, the bill will first provide legal permanent residency to undocumented immigrants. It will then take up the increase in border security. Finally, citizenship will be available, but only after the borders are under control. Those who oppose the bill currently firmly believe that border security and enforcement should be number one on the list.

The Senate did end up passing the bill, 68-32, with an amendment to include increased border patrol and greater funds for security. The future of this legislation is unknown, however, as many political pundits and others believe that the House will have nothing to do with the Gang of Eight’s bill. Indeed, the House is working currently to have its own “gang of eight” (last we heard, they only had seven) to craft its own immigration reform bill.

Interestingly, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, along with the Joint Committee on Taxation, recently released its review of the Gang of Eight’s bill. The CBO found that the bill will drastically reduce the federal deficit over the next two decades: to the tune of $197 billion the first decade and another $700 billion in the second. If that isn’t enough to sway the House to support this bill, who knows what will.

Credits, Taxes & Estate Planning

If you have a will or are in the process of creating one, then you will likely already be familiar with the unified credit. If not, let us break it down for you. The unified credit, which combines the federal estate tax and the gift tax into one, provides a substantial tax break. Recently, there has been a great deal of concern over how much the unified credit would cover due to potentially significant changes in the law relating to the fiscal cliff scare. All you need to know there is that nothing changed, and nothing will change in the near future.

At this time, the unified credit allows a person to transfer up to $5 million in their lifetime or at death via a will. Just so you know, this number is affected by inflation, so it may be slightly higher than $5 million.

For married couples, it is important to know that the credit can still transfer: should one spouse pass away without using his or her full credit, the surviving spouse can get the remainder. This is called “portability.” Be careful, however, as this transfer does not happen automatically. Speak with a lawyer to learn how to ensure the transfer happens at the settling of your or your spouse’s estate.

Finally, did you hear that Minnesota became one of two states in the country to institute a new 10% tax on any gift over $1 million? This new law can affect how federal estate laws apply to you.

  1. If you do not have a will, now is the time to get one.
  2. If you have a will, but have not reviewed in at least five years, speak to an attorney. You will want to ensure that everything is still as you want it to be.
  3. If you are considering making a financial gift this year, speak to a lawyer to understand how that gift will affect your estate.

Discount on Estate Planning Services

Speaking of estate planning… We’re excited to announce that we are offering discounted rates on estate planning services for all existing and past clients. If you don’t have a will, let us get one in place for you. Or, if you have one, but haven’t reviewed it in at least five years, reach out to us. What with life changes and updates to relevant laws, you never know what you might be missing.

This discounted offer runs through the end of September, so call our office today at 612-874-6109 to schedule a time to get started. We look forward to reconnecting with you!

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