Ann R Mitchell Attorney

General Practice of Law

Focusing on Real Property, Estate Planning/Probate and Small Business Formation

Contact us to Schedule a Free Consultation Appointment

Ann’s clients are important to her, each with unique and individual qualities and circumstances. Ann takes the time to get to know her clients and find out what is important to them, what their needs are. Ann then works collaboratively with the client to fashion a solution, solve the problem as best able. Ann values the relationships she has developed with her clients and works hard to keep her clients.

Real Estate

Estate Planning

Real Estate Residential

Residential Real Estate

We’ve all heard that owning a single family home is part of the American Dream. But that part of the “Dream” can become a complicated nightmare!

Issues to be considered:

  • Do you need to list with a realtor or can you do this yourself?
  • What does all that legal-ese in the Purchase Agreement actually mean? Is it negotiable?
  • What happens at closing?
  • Do I need title insurance?
  • How does an Owners Title insurance policy differ from a Lenders’ Title insurance policy?
  • What is an easement?
  • Do I still need an abstract of title?

Your home may well be the largest single purchase of your lifetime, and you want to be sure you understand it and that it is done right. Working with you and your lender and your realtor, Ann can explain this complicated process to you and provide you with understandable answers.

Real Estate Cabin

Cabins & Hunting Land / Vacation Property

Perhaps more beloved that your home is your cabin! Cabins and hunting shacks hold a special place in a Minnesotan’s heart. This is where the memories are made, where the family plays games, fishes and bonds together.

Issues to be considered:

  • How will the next generation get along? Do we need a schedule and some basic rules?
  • Do we just transfer the property outright? but what if there is a divorce, or a creditor claim or if one of the kids just wants out?
  • How do we make everyone contribute an equal share? Does sweat equity count? What happens if someone can’t afford his/her share?
  • Who decides when maintenance or improvements must be done?
  • Who makes sure taxes are paid and the property is insured?
  • When is it time to sell? Should a family member get the first chance to buy? At what price?
  • What if a family member dies? Can the interest be passed on?
  • Are there estate and gift tax issues to be considered here?

None of these questions is insurmountable and a little planning can go a long way towards keeping the property in the family! Ann can help you work through this process, answering questions and determining what vehicle will work best for taking your vacation property into the future.

Real Estate Cabin

Farms and Ag Land

Farming is big business and plans need to be made for what happens to the farm when you want to retire. You can just end your operation but what if you want a family member to continue on? That takes planning and good planning takes time.

Transferring the family farm works best when the process occurs over several years, allowing the next generation to learn skills and establish a financial footing. Just as importantly, the retiring generation must be willing to let go of control.

Issues to be considered:

  • Is the retiree ready and willing to retire?
  • Can the retiree afford to retire?
  • How important is it that the farm stay in the family?
  • How does/should sweat equity of children work into this?
  • Does the next generation have a sound financial footing? How much income with they need?
  • How do estate and gift taxes play into this?
  • Can life insurance help?
  • Can we all talk and keep communication open?
  • What options are available to us?
  • Should there be a trust? A limited liability company? A corporation?
  • What is someone dies or gets divorced or is disabled?

Developing a written plan is an important part of a successful farm transition. It necessitates discussion and sets forth a plan. That plan may need changing and tweaking but there will at least be a “road map” to use. Ann can help develop that written transition plan and, working with your accountant and/or financial planner, can advise as to the vehicles chosen and draft agreements and documents to make sure the plan works.

Real Estate Residential

Estate Planning

If you do not have your own estate plan, the laws of your state will determine who administers your estate and how your assets will be distributed. There may be no ability to take into account individual circumstances, such as a child or grandchild with special needs or gifts or loans made during your lifetime.

So, the question is not whether you will have an estate plan but whether you choose the plan, based upon your needs and wishes, or accept the plan imposed upon you by the law.

Estate Planning includes planning for both death and incapacity. An estate plan can accomplish several objectives:

  • Take care of your family and loved one by appointing guardians for children and making sure asset transfer goes smoothly
  • Avoid a messy situation by putting someone you trust in charge of your assets/estate or even yourself
  • Distribute your assets, when you want them distributed, to the people you choose
  • Save money and time by avoiding court involvement with a probate or a guardianship
  • How does an Owners Title insurance policy differ from a Lenders’ Title insurance policy?
  • Naming a person you trust to make medical decisions for you

As you can see, estate planning is not only a good idea for the wealthy or those advanced in age, but should be part of everyone’s life plan.

Real Estate Cabin

Planning for Incapacity…

A Health Care Directive also called a “Living Will” is a legal document that you use to make known your wishes about certain medical treatments and conditions and appoint someone to make medical decisions for you, in the event you cannot communicate.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows a person to authorize another person to act on his or her Behalf with respect to certain specified legal obligations.

It can be quite broad but can also be limited to certain circumstances or authorities. This allows business to proceed and transactions to occur even in the event of incapacity.

Great care must be taken in choosing the person who you want to make these decisions for you. You must trust this person implicitly and the person must be competent and able to make the decisions for you.

Real Estate Cabin

Planning for Death…

There is no beating around the bush here… to a large extent, we are dealing with what happens when a person dies, something people really don’t want to deal with, but it will happen to all. So, what are some of the options?

The most well-known estate planning tool is a Will. A Will is a legal document that disposes of assets that are owned only in the name of the decedent at the time of death that are not disposed of by other means.

A Will can nominate a guardian for minor children. A Will can set up a trust. A Will can nominate a personal representative to handle all of the estate and probate matters. There are certain legal requirements necessary to make a Will valid. A Will can be relatively inexpensive to set up and can be a safety net for non-probate or unknown assets.

Although Wills are well known and have many benefits, they also have drawbacks. A Will, since it takes affect only upon death, does nothing for incapacity or Medical Assistance planning purposes.

A Will may require a probate. A Will is usually a public document once it is filed for probate which means its contents are view-able to the public.

Real Estate Cabin

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that takes place when a person dies, with or without a Will. The personal representative needs to be appointed by the court and then must identify and secure the decedent’s property, pay all of the debts and taxes, then distribute the remainder as directed in the Will or by state law.

This process can be expensive, with court filing fees, publication fees and attorneys’ involvement. It is also a lengthy process that many people find difficult because there are many steps required for a successful completion of the process.

Becoming more useful and popular as an estate planning tool, there is a Revocable Living Trust.

A person sets up this Trust and becomes its Trustee, its manager. The Trust is then funded by assets which are re-titled in the name of the Trust or into which the assets can be transferred upon death. Then, upon death, the successor trustee can step in, take over management of the Trust, and follow the directions set down in the Trust. This is a very simplified outline of the Revocable Living Trust but it gives you an idea of how it works.

There are many benefits to this, as it can help avoid probate, keeps a persons’ private business private, can include planning for incapacity, is revocable and amendable.

Although very popular, a Revocable Living Trust does not help with Medical Assistance planning, it is more involved to set up and takes a bit of work to maintain.

Trusts can be used extensively in estate planning because they can be tailored to fit a persons’ needs. There are revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, supplemental/special needs trusts and even cabin trusts, just to name a few!

What trust you may use will depend upon your unique circumstances.

Ann Bio Pic

Ann R Mitchell

Ann grew up in central Minnesota, a middle child in a large family. She learned the value of education, hard work and a sense of community from her parents. Ann attended the University of Minnesota for her undergraduate degree (B.A. English) and for law school (J.D. 1989 cum laude). For many years, Ann truly had a “general” practice, enjoying the variety of issues that she encountered. Over the years, however, her practice narrowed and now focuses primarily on estate planning, elder law, business planning and real estate.

Ann is very active in her community. She is a member of the Sauk Centre Rotary Club, Friends of the Bryant Library and Treasurer for the Sauk Centre Area Combined Fund. She was active in her church and led small adult groups and taught religious education for children. Ann served on the Sauk Centre Board of Education for 9 years, was a member of the PTA and the Sauk Centre Sports boosters.

Ann has been married for over 30 years to Lane and they have 2 children, Lucy and Daniel. She enjoys reading just about anything, seeing movies, and plays. Ann also enjoys embroidery, boating, fishing, and cooking.

Ann’s clients are important to her, each with unique and individual concerns and circumstances. Ann takes the time to get to know her clients and to find out what is important to them. Ann then works collaboratively with the client and other professionals to fashion a solution and address their issues. Ann values the relationships she has developed with her clients and works hard to earn their trust, offering common sense advice.

Ann tries her best to respond to her clients promptly, scheduling time daily to return calls and emails.


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508 S. Main St.
Sauk Center, MN 56378