Estate Planning

A power of appointment is a legal instrument that grants an individual (the “appointee”) the authority to decide how a particular asset or assets will be distributed upon the death of the individual who created the power (the “donor”). The appointee can exercise this power during their lifetime or in their will, and they can direct the asset to be given to any person or entity they choose.

When selecting the type of power of appointment to include in
Continue Reading Tax & Wealth Advisor Alert: Powers of Appointment – A Tool to Add Flexibility Into an Estate Plan

As a business owner, you have many responsibilities, and estate planning may not be high on your priority list. However, failing to plan adequately can have significant consequences for your business and family. Estate planning is a complex process that requires careful consideration of various factors, and there are several pitfalls that business owners should avoid. Keep reading to learn the common estate planning mistakes that business owners make and provide guidance on how to mitigate them.
Estate Planning
Continue Reading Estate Planning Pitfalls to Avoid for Business Owners

Beneficiary designations (or sometimes called TOD [Transfer on Death] or POD [Payable on Death] designations) may be placed on almost any financial asset.  A Non-Probate Transfer at Death Deed (“TOD Deed”) may be used to transfer Wisconsin real estate without court to whomever the grantor names in the TOD Deed.  If a Decedent designates beneficiaries on all but fifty thousand dollars’ worth of his or her property, the Decedent will have avoided probate. While this strategy is not appropriate
Continue Reading Satisfying Bequests in a Will While Avoiding Probate

Estate planning strategies for business owners should consider both your professional and personal goals. As a business owner, you have likely invested a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources into building your company and accumulating wealth. However, without proper estate planning strategies in place, much of that wealth may be lost or subject to unnecessary taxes, fees, or legal disputes. To ensure that your assets are protected and transferred efficiently to your beneficiaries, it’s crucial to consider various
Continue Reading Top Estate Planning Strategies for Business Owners

Generally speaking, real estate is subject to the laws of the jurisdiction in which it is located. That makes coordination of property ownership outside your home state an especially important piece of your overall estate plan. Failing to specifically address the funding/titling of this real estate can cause, among other hassles, unnecessary court processes at death. The following are a few things to consider.

Out-Of-State Real Estate
If you utilize a revocable trust as your main estate planning vehicle
Continue Reading A Home Away From Home: Planning Considerations for Out-of-State Real Estate, Mobile Homes and Foreign Real Estate

With the proper planning you can safeguard your business legacy to ensure your business lives on for generations to come. As a business owner, you put everything into building and growing your business. It’s not just a source of income, but also a reflection of your passion, hard work, and dedication. However, amidst the daily hustle and bustle of running a business, one critical aspect that often gets overlooked is estate planning. Many business owners tend to neglect or
Continue Reading How to Safeguard Your Business Legacy

When creating an estate plan, one of the most critical decisions you will make is selecting a personal representative and trustee, also known as “fiduciaries.” A fiduciary is a person or institution entrusted with the responsibility of managing assets and carrying out the terms of your estate plan.  Choosing the right fiduciary is essential, as they will play a significant role in ensuring your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes. This blog post explores the various
Continue Reading Selecting a Fiduciary – One of the Most Important Decisions in an Estate Plan

Funding your trust is the crucial step to making sure your estate plan works when the time comes. If you have an estate plan, you’ve already taken a crucial step in ensuring that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. However, simply creating an estate plan is not enough. One of the key elements of a comprehensive estate plan is funding your trust.
Why Funding Your Trust is So Crucial
Funding a
Continue Reading Funding Your Trust: The Crucial Part of Your Estate Plan

The Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) is a type of irrevocable trust that allows married couples to transfer assets to their spouse and other family members while removing those assets from their combined estates. This type of trust can help high net worth individuals take advantage of the federal lifetime gift and estate tax exclusion, which is currently $12.92 million per person in 2023, or $25.84 million per married couple, while still retaining limited access to the assets, if
Continue Reading Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts, A Powerful Estate Planning Tool for Complex Estates

Last month, President Biden signed the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0) into law. Building upon the original SECURE Act passed in December 2019, SECURE 2.0 significantly changes laws governing retirement savings. The primary focus of both pieces of legislation is to help Americans better save for retirement. While a comprehensive summary of SECURE 2.0 is beyond the scope of this article, the provisions most pertinent to estate, tax and retirement planning are discussed in detail below.
Continue Reading SECURE 2.0 Act Brings Additional Estate Planning Opportunities

When I meet with new clients I have them fill out what we refer to as our estate planning “questionnaire.”  Basically, a form that asks them to insert personal information on the first two pages and financial information on pages 3-5.  Page one asks about marital status and page two asks the potential client to list their children, checking boxes for either biological or adopted.  The questionnaire is helpful, providing me with background information, but it does not always
Continue Reading Shaken or Stirred? Mixed or Blended?

How to pass on your possessions may seem like the main point of estate planning, but passing on possessions has evolved. We are living in times when “stuff” isn’t as coveted by the younger generations. Tastes change right along with technology and what once may have been considered as a “had to have” item, could now be considered worthless to keep. In estate planning you’re typically thinking about your money and large assets like your home. But you should
Continue Reading Passing on Your Personal Possessions

In the summer flurry of packing and planning to transition their high school student to college life, many parents overlook the legal documents that can help families in the event of a student’s financial or health emergency. As many parents learn the hard way when their child suffers a physical or mental health crisis, the law generally prohibits a hospital or medical provider from sharing information about their adult child without their child’s consent regardless of whether the child
Continue Reading Home for the Holidays: Give the Gift of Legal Planning for your College Student

The circumstances involving Anne Heche’s estate are a stark reminder of the uncertainties that may exist following the death of a loved one and the issues that can arise even when someone thinks they have their estate plan in place.

Heche’s (Possible) Will

When the Emmy Award-winning actress died after a fiery car crash in August 2022, she left behind two sons. After her death, her former partner, James Tupper, the father of the younger of Heche’s sons, came
Continue Reading Anne Heche’s Will Contest: A Cautionary Tale

As individuals grow older, they are often inclined to add a child to their financial accounts to assist them with paying bills and managing assets. While this strategy is convenient, it can lead to financial abuse and can also derail estate plans.

A joint account is a financial account with one or more owners, who both have rights of survivorship. Upon the death of one owner, the balance of the account passes to the surviving owner without probate, regardless
Continue Reading How Joint Accounts Can Ruin Your Estate Plan

My husband just recently opened a new account at one of those online, do-it-yourself, investment companies.  He promises that with the tiny amount of money I was willing to allow him to experiment with that he will make us tons of money.  After he got the account set up, he asked me to sit beside him so he could show me what he had done.  As he was showing me the fancy website and all of the different gadgets
Continue Reading How is That Account Titled?