Use Tax Refunds to Get New Business

by Boyd Johnson on May 4, 2011

Many clients delay estate planning because they lack liquid funds to pay for it. Yet, right now, millions of Americans are receiving their tax refunds. There is a marketing opportunity  here for the savvy estate planning attorney.

Consider this:

  • 78% of Americans expect a tax refund.
  • The average tax refund is over $3,000 (much more than the average cost of a new estate plan).

Call a marketing meeting this afternoon and figure out a way to reach new clients to create new estate plans and old clients to update their estate plans. They have cash. Convince them to spend it on your services.

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New Hennepin County probate referees announced

by Boyd Johnson on August 9, 2010

Hennepin County has announced the addition of two part-time probate referees to replace Bruce Kruger, who has retired. Rumors of these appointments have circulated for a while now, but the official announcement came last week (see text below).

I’m not familiar with George Borer, but I do have experience with Dean Maus. Maus has been a long-time referee in Ramsey County and will presumably split duties between the two locations. All my experiences with Referee Maus have been good and he will be an excellent addition to Hennepin County. I’ve had a few non-contested, but sensitive, guardianship cases in Ramsey County and found Referee Maus to have a good “beside manner”, so to speak, with my clients in the appointment process.

The announcement circulated last week is as follows:

On behalf of the Fourth Judicial District I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dean Maus and George Borer to serve as part-time referees in Probate/Mental Health Court. Dean and George will fill the position left open by the retirement of long-time Referee Bruce Kruger.

Dean and George bring a wealth of experience to the Bench. Dean has more than 20 years of legal experience working with Probate Law and has been a Referee in the Second Judicial District for more than 10 years. George has more than 30 years in private practice working with probate, guardianship, elder law, and estate planning practice, and has been an instructor for Continuing Legal Education regarding Guardian and Conservatorships.

George began his duties on August 2, 2010, and Dean will begin on August 18, 2010. Given their exemplary backgrounds and proven ability to work with the wide range of people who come into the Probate and Mental Health Courts, we are confident that Dean and George will excel in their new positions. They are a great addition to the Fourth Judicial District.

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Referee Kruger is retiring from Hennepin County’s probate court

July 15, 2010

After 20 years on the bench as one of Hennepin County’s probate referees, Bruce Kruger is retiring. Today, the court sent an announcement of his upcoming retirement party for attorneys and colleagues. The party is scheduled for July 30th from noon to 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 457. No RSVP is required. Earlier this year, Hennepin […]

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What you need to know about Minnesota’s new estate law legislation

June 15, 2010

Minnesota attorneys should be aware of new probate and trust law legislation recently signed into law. I have listed the highlights of the new laws on a guest post over at the Practice Law Blawg. Additionally, in the post, I’ve listed 5 ways you can prepare for the most important (and potentially controversial) provisions of […]

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Write for the Minnesota Estate Law Blog

May 20, 2010

Want the opportunity to write for the Minnesota Estate Law Blog and have the chance to be read by the hundreds of readers who visit this blog each month? The 36th Annual Probate and Trust Law Conference put on by Minnesota CLE is coming up June 7th through the 8th. Unfortunately, I won’t be able […]

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Opening available: Hennepin County Probate Referee

May 14, 2010

Hennepin County has announced the need to fill two, part-time referee positions in the probate/mental-health division. Find out more and how to apply here.

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New “Probate In Common Newsletter” published

May 14, 2010

Alonna Warns, one of Hennepin County’s Registrars, released today the latest issue of her newsletter, “Probate In Common.” In this issue (Vol. 7:1), she covers the following topics: Probates for Non-resident decedents Issues related to the Notice to Commissioner Dismissed Orders Common mistakes on Informal Applications If you practice probate in Hennepin County, this newsletter […]

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National healthcare decision day: April 16th

April 7, 2010

The Minnesota chapter of the National Healthcare Decision Day is trying to spread the word about all the events planned for April 16th. Check out the information on their website: and consider getting involved.

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Probate profanity: “Met his demise”

April 7, 2010

I read an email from a probate attorney recently that said something like, “The decedent met his demise on March 1, 2010.” My mouth dropped open. Met his demise? Never use that phrase– it’s like probate attorney profanity in the ears of sensitive clients. It’s one of those phrases that has such an insensitive edge […]

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How to grow a probate practice: #5 Develop a probate attorney network

March 12, 2010

This post is Part 5 of the series, How to Grow a Probate Practice. In this, our final post in the “How to Grow a Probate Practice” series, I want to make a simple point. Don’t be a lone-ranger probate attorney. Though the probate process is fairly routine once you learn it, every estate has […]

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