Probate & Estate Planning

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…
By: Attorney Gina C. Ziegelbauer © 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many to think about what-if scenarios and realize they can’t put off end-of-life planning. An estate plan generally includes documents (i.e. will or trust) which direct where your assets will go after you die, and appoint a personal representative (also called an executor) or a trustee to administer your estate after you die. If you have minor children, your will is important to appoint a guardian for your children if both parents die. But it should also include a healthcare power of attorney and power of attorney for…
By: Alison C. Petri © 2020 Recently, the Wisconsin State Board of Aging and Long Term Care set forth suggested options for visiting residents of assisted living, nursing home, and other long term care facilities. In-person visitation may be an option if the resident is at the end of his or her life. However, you will need work directly with administrators at the facility to discuss if such a visit is an option. If allowed, the facility may screen you to ensure you do not have symptoms that could cause risks to residents or employees such as a runny nose,…
As widely reported, Governor Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services extended Wisconsin’s Safer At Home Order through May 26, 2020.  Click below to read the updated Order and for additional information published by Governor Evers’ office clarifying the terms of the updated Order. Resources: Safer At Home Order Safer At Home Order – Frequently Asked Questions The post COVID-19 Update: Safer At Home Order Extended Through May 26th appeared first on Steimle Birschbach, LLC.…
By: Attorney Samuel J. Spurney The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rapid shift to remote working unlike anything experienced before.  While many businesses have scrambled to connect employees remotely using VPN, encrypted email, and other common data protection measures, one crucial in-home data protection practice has undoubtedly been overlooked by many – turning off Siri, Alexa, and other personal digital home assistants during work hours. While Google, Amazon, and other tech companies have attempted to downplay the ability of these devices to record all conversations in your home, these devices are on at all times, are listening to all conversations,…
At Steimle Birschbach, we are dedicated to doing all that we can to help the communities we serve in these difficult times. As heavily reported in the news, to combat the disruption that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused to the general public and to the United States economy, the federal government is in the process of rolling out several programs to provide direct relief to taxpayers and to small businesses. Below are links to information published by the Treasury Department, the Small Business Administration (SBA), the IRS, and the Department of Labor providing guidance on the programs and initiatives that…
Every fall most estate planning professionals start looking for the release of the annual Revenue Procedure that announces federal inflation-adjusted numbers for the coming year. These include the estate tax applicable exemption amount, the gift tax annual exclusion, and the income tax rates, among others. For the first time, this past year also brought us a state number to look for. July 1, 2019, marked the fifth anniversary of the effective date of our new trust code, Wis. Stat. chapter 701. Wis. Stat. section 701.0414   addresses the termination of an uneconomic trust, and the threshold for determining which trusts…
Steimle Birschbach, LLC qualifies as an essential business which allows us to continue uninterrupted operations during the “Safer at Home” order issued by Governor Evers. In our efforts to do the right thing for our employees, clients and communities, we have instructed all firm employees to work from home. We all remain ready and available to help you in our secured communications environment, so please call, email or text us and we will promptly assist. Please note that we have instructed our attorneys and staff to avoid all in-person meetings. However, if you are experiencing an urgent situation that can…
“Transferring your copyrights to this living trust will activate the copyright termination right.” Estate planning professionals who have never uttered those words may inadvertently have thwarted their clients’ objectives. The copyright termination right (17 USC 203) can be little known among lawyers who don’t practice copyright law, yet it can alter the course of estate and marital property plans. Simply put, the termination right permits authors to terminate lifetime grants of any right under a copyright, and reclaim ownership of the rights so transferred. We’re talking about any lifetime grant. It could be a grant of copyright from…
When is a cow not a cow? When it is part of a herd at a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), which means that the cow is actually 1.4 “animal units.” A CAFO generally involves a farm operation with more than 500 animal units. CAFOs are mega farms, and have more in common with industrial uses than family farm operations. CAFOs create large volumes of animal waste that needs to be stored, transported and disposed of. Housing so many animals can create offensive odors and attract flies. CAFO operations also require intense truck traffic to transport feed, bedding sand, animal…