Probate & Estate Planning

At first this question might seem unusual, but according to the American Pet Products Association three in five U.S. households own a pet, which resulted in an estimated $99 billion dollars spent on pets in the U.S. in 2020. It’s pretty clear that people are willing to pamper their pets. In fact, a 2020 study by the Harris Poll on behalf of TD Ameritrade found that an average dog owner spent over $1,200 per year on their pet, not only on the basics like food, vet care, and supplies, but also on daycare, clothing, gifts, and even DNA testing. Not…
By:  Alison C. Petri © 2021 National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16, 2021 – this is your reminder to let your family know your values, goals, and preferences regarding future medical care.  Use this time to talk to your family to ensure you receive the medical care you want.  Under Wisconsin law, adults (not under legal guardianship) have the right to control decisions about their medical care, including the right to accept or refuse treatment. This is also an important time to ensure you have your Health Care Power of Attorney and/or Living Will completed and executed.  These…
By Attorney Gina C. Ziegelbauer It seems like we’ve all received those scam calls letting you know your “vehicle warranty has expired,” “there is a problem with your credit card,” or that you need to take some type of action with regard to your social security, bank accounts, tech support, or who-knows-what. While it may be obvious to many people that these types of calls or mailings are a scam, unfortunately, fraudsters particularly target vulnerable persons who may not be able to pick up on the signs of a scam and who are more susceptible to fraud. And while we…
By:  Attorney Gina C. Ziegelbauer When people think of estate planning, they often think of a Will.  Although a Will is an important part of an estate plan, a Will might not do what you think. Most importantly, a Will does not avoid probate for titled assets.  Your Will is actually the document that will tell the court how you want your estate handled if your estate does go through probate.  Your Will contains the instructions to your personal representative (the person handling your estate) and to the court if your estate does go through probate.  So the next question…
Easements can and do expire in Wisconsin as a matter of law. Even if they are “perpetual.” Even if they are in use. Even if they provide access. Consider This Scenario Jill owns Parcel A on First Street. The neighboring parcel on First Street, Parcel B, is owned by Frank. Jill’s driveway is located primarily on Parcel B, pursuant to a perpetual driveway easement. The driveway is the only means of accessing Jill’s garage, located behind her house. The driveway easement was created when Frank subdivided his property and sold Parcel A to Jill in 1978. Jill and Frank are…
By:  Attorney Samuel J. Spurney © 2021 At SB Law, we represent closely held businesses ranging in size from small start-up entities to businesses with over 1,500 employees.  Our clients are comprised of various industries including manufacturing, health care, hospitality, service, agriculture, utilities, and food products.  Many of our clients are multi-generational, family owned enterprises, and are comprised of small to mid-sized businesses that are large enough to require advice on sophisticated legal issues, but are not yet ready or do not have sophisticated legal issues arise often enough to justify employing in-house attorneys. In situations where hiring full-time in…
On January 11, 2021, the United States Small Business Administration (“SBA”) reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) for first draw PPP loans.  On January 13, 2021, the SBA began accepting second draw (“Round 2”) applications for recipients that already received a PPP loan in 2020.  The program is expected to remain open until March 31, 2021 (or if the PPP runs out of money, potentially sooner).  Whether Congress will pass another round, add additional funding, or extend the program is unknown.  As such, clients are advised to promptly apply for Round 2, provided they qualify. Qualifications are slightly different in…
Sparking Ideas & Innovation UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc and Sheboygan Campuses host a monthly speaker series with distinguished leaders making a positive impact in our communities. Join us to hear an inspiring talk and to learn from area leaders.  Attorney Michelle Birschbach will be speaking on February 10, 2021.  This is a virtual event.  Please join her and register today by clicking HERE. The post Lakeshore Leaders Breakfast Series, Attorney Michelle Birschbach appeared first on Steimle Birschbach, LLC.…
As the population ages and life expectancy increases, there has become a need for attorneys who focus on the issues facing seniors. This is partly due to the increase in individuals diagnosed with dementia and other chronic diseases and therefore, an increase in individuals requiring long-term or nursing home care. Over the last thirty to forty years, elder law has developed into a focus area that addresses the variety of issues seniors face within several different fields of law. Elder law attorneys have additional training, education, and knowledge on the issues older individuals may face. This can include helping individuals…
Wisconsin Managed Forest Law: A Brief History and How to Legally Protect Your Forests By: Atty. Logan Wood While many people know Wisconsin as “America’s Dairyland,” this was not always the case. Long before agriculture took over, Wisconsin used to be known for their lumber production. The southern parts of Wisconsin were largely cleared of their trees in the 1800s to make way for agriculture, with the northern parts of Wisconsin heavily cut for timber in the early 1900s. In fact, so much timber was harvested, that by 1893, Wisconsin was a world leader in lumber production at more than…
Although the November 3rd general election is months away, the ballot for the presidential race has essentially been set for some time, with former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump each poised to become the official nominee of his respective party this August. While the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is the major focus of fiscal conversation, a potential Biden administration could also result in sweeping changes to the existing income and transfer tax landscapes. While tax legislation necessarily originates in Congress, Biden has laid out a number of tax reforms that he would make a priority…
Probate is the legal process during which a court oversees the collection and transfer of a person’s assets upon his or her death. In general, the probate process includes filing a will, appointing a personal representative, inventorying the decedent’s assets, paying the decedent’s debts, filing taxes, and distributing the balance of the estate according to the decedent’s will. If the decedent did not leave a will, then the decedent’s property is distributed according to Wisconsin’s intestacy laws. Many people seek to avoid probate because probate documents are public record, so avoiding probate means maintaining a sense of privacy. Additionally, the…
By: Logan Wood © 2020 The CARES Act is an overarching Act aimed to help those affected by COVID-19. In particular, this Act authorized the United States Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to provide temporary guaranteed loans under a program known as the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). In general, the Act allowed certain borrowers to be eligible for forgiveness of their PPP loan. This forgiveness was limited to the number of certain payments made throughout the covered period. Because the program is a first of its kind, not all questions were answered through the initial draft. To address this issue, the…
By: Logan Wood © 2020 Beginning in April of 2020, U.S. citizens began to receive Economic Impact Payments (i.e. stimulus checks) from the Treasury Department due to the impact of COVID-19. In determining the amount each citizen would receive, the Treasury Department relied on the last filed tax returns to identify qualifying individuals and to calculate how much each citizen would receive.  Because the official filing date for taxes for the 2019 filing year has also been extended due to the impact of COVID-19, in some instances the IRS was required to rely on taxes filed for the 2018 tax…
By: Thomas A. Griesbach © 2020 In the last few weeks of 2019, Congress passed the SETTING EVERY COMMUNITY UP FOR RETIREMENT ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2019 (the “SECURE ACT”) which, among other things, made drastic changes to the rules governing inherited retirement accounts. For many of us, our largest assets are our retirement accounts, and so the SECURE ACT greatly affects many of our estate plans. Under the pre-SECURE ACT rules, most individuals who inherited a retirement account could withdraw the funds over their life expectancy, as yearly-required minimum distributions, deferring tax payment and spreading tax liability over many tax…