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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 individual property. This is an exception to the general classification of assets owned by a married couple as marital property. Divorce…
There’s a metal stick in the hedgerow between my house and my neighbor’s that tells us how much yard we need to mow and how much of the sidewalk is our responsibility to clear each time it snows. For such an insignificant piece of metal, it holds a lot of power (see Figure 1). Each time I see it, I’m transported back to U.W. Law Professor Gretchen Viney’s real estate class. It was there, while practicing reading legal descriptions of parcels, and drawing property lines with a protractor, that I became fascinated with the physical markers that bring property…
If you’re a legal practitioner or scholar, you’re almost certainly familiar with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.  But you may not have heard of the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. ALWD, from the Association of Legal Writing Directors, is designed to complement the Bluebook.  Whenever I have a  legal citation question that the Bluebook can’t answer, I turn to ALWD. ALWD recently released a new 7th edition.  The CRIV Blog offers some insights from author Carolyn V. Williams: To maintain conformity, ALWD almost always keeps the same exact citations as the Bluebook (see below for…
State v. Scott William Forrett, 2019AP1850-CR, petition for review of a published decision of the court of appeals granted 9/14/21; case activity (including links to briefs) Issue presented Wisconsin’s escalating OWI penalty scheme counts a person’s refusal to consent to a blood draw as a basis for enhancing the penalty for future offenses. Is that scheme unconstitutional because it penalizes a defendant’s exercise of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from an warrantless search? As our post on the decision explained, the court of appeals held that using a driver’s refusal to submit to a blood draw (as opposed…
A well-drafted personal guaranty of payment and performance provides peace of mind for the diligent lender. It is not only irrevocable, but also covers future extensions of credit and includes broad waivers of defenses. Even when a lender is faced with a bankruptcy proceeding, the guarantor’s promise to pay the full amount of a debt is inviolate: a claim against the guarantor need not be reduced to account for recoveries from other sources unless and until the creditor is paid in full. As long as the creditor does not collect more than it is owed, it may prosecute its bankruptcy…
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 are titled and how they will transfer on your death is important to avoid unintended consequences. Joint ownership: Adding a child…
This article was put together by Noah G. Buhle, a law clerk with our firm and a Senior at Marquette University Law School, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thanks for Noah’s great effort and nice summary! Biden Tax Plan and Ramifications President Joe Biden, in his campaign and in several speeches after being inaugurated, has stated his intent to change the tax code. One common theme of his statements has been that the average lower and middle class American will not see any increase in taxes, with taxes only being increased for those who earn more than $400,000 per year. But the…
On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Biden announced his new COVID-19 plan entitled “Path out of the Pandemic” (Plan). While this Plan includes several provisions, this e-alert highlights a few of those of most interest to employers: OSHA was directed to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This ETS will require private sector employers with at least 100 employees to ensure that their workforces are fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID at least weekly. Employers will be required to provide paid time off to employees for getting the vaccine and for recovering from any side effects.  We are not…
From the Wisconsin State Law Library: The Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instructions have recently been updated, with a 2021 release approved by the Wisconsin Judicial Conference’s Criminal Jury Instructions Committee. The fifty-ninth supplement to the Criminal Jury Instructions updates the publication on legislative actions and judicial decisions through August 2021. The update includes revisions of twenty-nine existing jury instructions, as well as five new instructions: 1243 Battery to a Nurse 1784 Inmate Possessing an Article With Intent to Retain 1787 Receiving an Article From an Inmate to Convey Out of Jail or Prison 1808A Bribery of Witness: Transferring Property 1808B
The US Dep’t of Labor has announced the beginning of an effort to modernize unemployment claim-filing to make the process both more equitable and less susceptible to fraud. This effort is centered around the creation of “tiger” teams that are “composed of experts across many disciplines including fraud specialists, equity and customer service experience specialists, UI program specialists, behavioral insights specialists, business intelligence analysts, computer systems engineers/architects and project managers.” These teams will not only work on hardening a state’s claim-filing system from on-line attacks but also in the creation of modular systems that can be deployed for making claim-filing…
Like any other civil action, family law matter outcomes are decided on the facts. Those facts are typically collected directly from the client, and through interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Typically these methods alone are sufficient to collect the discovery you need to engage in settlement negotiations and prepare for trial. However, there are other methods of collecting facts that may be appropriate and necessary in some matters. To best represent their clients, family law practitioners should be aware of all available discovery tools, and recognize when these tools should be considered when collecting facts. Tool #1: Depositions…
“I know Lavinia can never earn a steady living.” Maria Frost, April 10, 1865 It is doubtful that Lavinia Goodell ever enjoyed extended periods of good health. She was a sickly infant and youngster, and as an adult she was often ill. (During the years she practiced law, in addition to physical ailments, she suffered from frequent bouts of severe depression. That topic will be covered in a future post.) In spite of her many maladies,  Lavinia rarely complained, and she never let her poor health stand in the way of accomplishing whatever she set out to do. Lavinia Goodell…
On August 18, 2021, President Biden announced that his administration would require all nursing home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition to continue to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding. The same day, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would develop emergency regulations to enforce President Biden’s initiative. CMS indicated it will issue the regulations by the end of September 2021. In light of this announcement, nursing homes should review their obligations related to mandatory vaccination programs. Specifically, nursing homes should be prepared to administer a mandatory vaccination policy and to accommodate employees who qualify…
Cox v. City of Madison Zoning Board of Appeals, Appeal No. 2020AP478 (July 8, 2021) Kathleen Cox purchased property on Lake Mendota with the plan to demolish and rebuild the existing house and wet boathouse. A wet boathouse is one that is built over excavated shoreline with the lake water underneath, into which a boat can directly navigate. Cox learned after rebuilding the wet boathouse and completing design plans for the home that a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) regulation required her to measure the setback from the indented shoreline created by her wet boathouse rather than the natural…
Yes, I am running out of puns, and this is information isn’t breaking news anymore, but 110-page opinions have bad habits of dropping while I’m on vacation. Anyway, while I was gone, Hon. Linda Parker of the Eastern District of Michigan sanctioned several attorneys, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood and a few less famous, but all associated with the post-election “Kraken” litigation. My nerd friend Don Campbell did his best with exceedingly bad facts, but. This is a remarkable opinion. It is also 110 pages, so it’s not a beach read (well, maybe it is, I won’t judge), but…