Estate Planning

Florida recently enacted two major pieces of legislation that provide significant new estate planning opportunities for families with ties to the sunshine state. The Community Property Trust Act (CPTA) and the Florida Uniform Directed Trust Act (FUDTA), both of which went into effect earlier this year, are summarized below.
Community Property Trust Act
Florida is not a community property state, however, CPTA allows married couples to opt into community property treatment by creating a “community property trust” and transferring
Continue Reading New Estate Planning Opportunities with Florida Trusts

On November 4, 2021 the Internal Revenue Service announced the cost-of-living adjustments for the various qualified retirement plan limits. The vast majority of the limits shown below have increased from last year.

Qualified Plan Limit
Cost-of-Living Adjustments

401(k) and 403(b) elective deferral limit

2021 – $19,500

2022 – $20,500

$200,000 compensation limit

2021 – $290,000

2022 – $305,000

$160,000 defined benefit limit

2021 – $230,000

2022 – $245,000

$40,000 defined contribution limit

2021 – $58,000

2022 – $61,000

Continue Reading 2022 Qualified Plan Cost of Living Increases, 2022 Social Security Taxable Wage Base

By: Attorney Danielle Rousset
Recently, the BBC reported that the last will and testament of Prince Philip, the late husband of England’s Queen Elizabeth II, would be sealed for 90 years following his death in April of 2021. While the laws surrounding wills are different in the United States, and they can vary from state to state, some Americans may have wondered if they can take advantage of similar options to ensure that their private affairs will not be
Continue Reading Can the Contents of a Will Be Sealed in Wisconsin?

On September 13, 2021, the House Ways and Means committee released its proposals to raise revenue, including increases to individual, trust and corporate income taxes, changes to retirement plan contributions and distributions, and changes to the estate and gift tax laws. We will continue to monitor this legislation and will provide relevant updates, but wanted to highlight the proposed estate and gift tax changes that may be most crucial to your immediate planning.

Good news first: There is no
Continue Reading Disappearing Act: What You Need to Know About the Estate and Gift Tax Provisions of the House Ways and Means Committee Tax Proposals

Today, the Social Security Administration announced in a press release that approximately 70 million Americans who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (“COLA”) seeing an increase in their benefits of 5.9% in 2022.

64 million Social Security beneficiaries will see their 5.9% COLA increase in January 2022. Eight million SSI beneficiaries will see their benefits increase begin on December 30, 2021. (Please be advised that some individuals receive both Social Security and
Continue Reading Breaking News: Social Security Administration Announces 5.9% Benefit Increase for 2022

The Elder Law and Special Needs Section is a very collegial and welcoming section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

I know this from personal experience. I have served on committees and in a leadership position with the section for seven years. I personally witnessed that the members of the section and the board go above and beyond when it comes to sharing their expertise with new members and attorneys who are striving to expand their practice of law
Continue Reading Diversity and Inclusion is a Top Priority of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section

On September 15, 2021, the House Ways and Means Committee approved draft legislation that, among other things, would increase taxes for high-income individuals and make drastic changes to federal estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer tax laws.

Before the proposed legislation becomes law, the Senate Finance Committee will weigh in, and a bill must pass the House and Senate, and be signed by the President. While this seems like an uphill battle, many practitioners believe that something very similar
Continue Reading Federal Estate Tax Law Changes Are Near

So you’ve received an inheritance and you’re married. The person who left you the inheritance probably intended for it to benefit you, not your spouse, if you get divorced. How do you protect the inheritance?

Wisconsin law provides limited protection.  Under Wisconsin’s Marital Property Act, which governs the classification of assets during marriage and on the death of a spouse, property received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance from a third party is classified as the recipient’s
Continue Reading Protecting Your Inheritance

It’s not uncommon for clients to tell me that they’ve added their adult child or children to their bank account. My next question to them is what they mean by that?  Did you add the child as an owner to the account, a signatory, power of attorney, or beneficiary? The answer makes a big difference in what rights, if any, they may have transferred to their child and if their assets will transfer after death.  Knowing how the accounts
Continue Reading Should I Add My Child to My Bank Accounts?

For those of you who have not seen the cinematic classic that is Legally Blonde, the above title is a nod to the main character’s most notorious line.After Elle Woods successfully gains admission to an Ivy League law school, one of her classmates cannot fathom how she was admitted, and her response is the above phrase of incredulity.Amy K. Greske, William Mitchell 2014, is an attorney at O’Neill Elder Law, LLC, in Hudson. She practices elder law and
Continue Reading Transferring Guardianship to Another State Under Chapter 53: ‘What? Like It’s Hard?’

If you’re preparing to send a child off to college this fall, you should add two documents to your back-to-school checklist: (1) a power of attorney for health care, and (2) a durable power of attorney for finances.  Without these two documents, you may not have the authority to make health care decisions or manage finances for your child once they reach age 18.

A power of attorney for health care allows your child to name agents to make
Continue Reading Add “Powers of Attorney” to Your College Student’s Back-to-School Checklist

Wisconsin summers invite many enjoyable activities: boating, hiking, fishing, and of course, trips to the family cabin. A hallmark of Wisconsin’s Northwoods, the family cabin, is a treasured piece of Wisconsin culture. Its foundation tells the story of a family’s hard work, close bond, and dedication. Families gather, laughter is shared, and memories are made.

It is no surprise that the cabin is often a family’s most valuable asset. As such, protecting it from devastating long-term care costs requires
Continue Reading Protecting the Family Cabin with a Family LLC

Thinking about becoming a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)? Here is my experience.

Greg J. Banchy, Marquette 1987, is an attorney with Banchy Law Center LLC in Eau Claire, practicing in elder law and estate planning.

Last September, I sat for the certification exam to become a CELA – a designation given by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).

I was warned that the exam would be difficult – and it was. The biggest challenge was actually the breadth and
Continue Reading Becoming a Certified Elder Law Attorney

Summertime is a special time of year in Wisconsin.  It brings many families to cabins where they create memories and traditions that will be cherished forever.  However, many problems arise if families do not create a plan for the future ownership and management of the family cabin.  The cabin may be subject to the claims of individual owners’ creditors, including spouses in the event of a divorce.  Individual owners may freely transfer their interests in the cabin, and you
Continue Reading Plan Ahead to Make Summer Memories at the Family Cabin Last Forever

On March 25, 2021, Senators Sanders, Gillibrand, Reed, Van Hollen, and Whitehouse released a bill to the Senate that, if signed into law, will cause substantial changes to the Internal Revenue Code that pertain, among other things, to estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.. A similar bill was read into the House by Representative Gomez. The bill, commonly known as “For the 99.5% Act” (the “Act”), was drafted with an effective date of January 1, 2022, but may be
Continue Reading Important Trusts and Estates Tax Changes Coming in 2022

Ruder Ware’s Trusts & Estates blog has featured several blogs (for example, Call to Action: Review Your Estate Plan in Light of the SECURE Act and Why SECURE Act Matters to You) on the SECURE Act, a federal law effective January 1, 2020,  that made significant changes to the payout provisions of inherited retirement benefits, such as 401(k) plans and IRAs.

The most dramatic change brought about by the SECURE Act was the elimination of the ability of
Continue Reading IRS Releases Publication on RMDs for Inherited Retirement Benefits (and, of course, creates confusion)