Ruder Ware News & Insights

Updates on key legal issues and business concerns.

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided to some extent, banks and lenders are beginning to resume collections.  Further, as interest rates and inflation continue to rise, it is likely that the number of past due accounts will also rise.  One of the issues with collections are the slough of regulations that come with collections from consumers.  Consumer collections must be compliant with the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the FDCPA), and in Wisconsin, the more stringent Wisconsin
Continue Reading Consumer Collections in Wisconsin

One of the most common questions asked by our clients is, “What is the difference between a will and a trust, and which is right for me?”  Last week, I provided a brief summary of the differences between these two common estate planning tools in a vlog.  You can view the vlog here.  In this blog post, I’ll provide more details about the distinguishing factors.

Wills and trusts share some commonalities, including:

  • You may use a will or


Continue Reading Will or Trust: Which is Right for Me?

Due to the increase in the cost of gasoline since establishing the 2022 rates last year, the Internal Revenue Service is increasing mid-year the optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible cost of operating an automobile for business, medical, and moving expenses.  Effective July 1, 2022, the optional standard mileage rates will be 62.5 cents per mile for business transportation, and 22 cents per mile for travel relating to medical and moving transportation expenses. These increased mileage rates
Continue Reading Pain at the Pump: IRS Announces Mid-Year Adjustment of Business and Medical Mileage Rates

Recently, we have been fielding calls from clients regarding “remote” Form I-9 verification. The current rule is that employers can ONLY verify I-9 forms remotely for employees who are remote due to COVID -19. For the curious, read our FAQ below:

1. What was the rule pre-COVID?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ALWAYS required an employer to verify Form I-9 documents in-person. Even for that salesperson you hired out in California—either they had to fly to headquarters
Continue Reading Are You Keeping an Eye on Your Form I-9?

Carbon credits have been a hot topic around the country as a potential opportunity for extra farm revenue. However, like any contract, farmers should carefully consider the terms of a carbon credit sale before signing an agreement.

There are several terms that could trip up the unwary signer.

What is a “carbon credit?” A carbon credit is a fictional currency representing the farm’s credit for undertaking certain practices to sequester carbon in the soil. Typically, each credit represents about
Continue Reading Carefully Consider Carbon Credit Contracts

In a perfect world, business owners could spend all of their time and money focusing on a singular task:  running their business.  Despite the best laid plans, however, at some point ancillary concerns will arise and require—at least to some extent—that a business divert its resources to address and correct an issue.  One area of concern that is likely all too familiar is dispute resolution.  Business disputes may be either internal (i.e., shareholder disputes) or external (i.e., contract disputes). 
Continue Reading Resolving Business Disputes

On April 29, 2022, the IRS announced the Health Savings Account limits for 2023.  With respect to contribution limits, the limits are higher than the ones for 2022 and the required deductible and out-of-pocket maximums have increased as well.  As a reminder, these inflation adjusted amounts are effective for calendar year 2023

HSA/HDHP Requirement
Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Limit on HSA Contributions – Self-only HDHP

2022 – $3,650

2023 – $3,850

Limit on HSA Contributions – Family HDHP

2022 – $7,300
Continue Reading 2023 HSA Limits Are Announced

An invention developed by a business or individual inventor may have great value to that business or individual, either through the commercialization of the invention or by licensing the invention to others in return for a license fee. That value is greater if the invention can be patented, which prevents competitors from manufacturing or selling a competitive product that incorporates your invention. But how do you know when your invention is patentable?
To be considered patentable subject matter, the
Continue Reading You Developed a New Invention – How Do You Determine if it is Patentable?

Over the past several years, many commentators, including members of this firm, have written extensively about the potential loss of recorded easement (or similar) rights due to the passage of time and failure of notice.  The alarm was raised because of specific provisions within the Wisconsin Statutes that were read to deem easements or recorded restrictions created more than forty years prior were possibly no longer enforceable. Or, more accurately, could be found unenforceable by parties who acquired ownership
Continue Reading Wisconsin Offers New Safe Harbor for Old Access Rights

Do you prefer face-to-face meetings? Do you struggle getting through a phone tree or finding what you need online? Many of our clients receive Social Security Retirement benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, and various other benefits provided through the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”). Recently, Kilolo Kijakazi, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that local Social Security offices would resume in-person services on April 7,2022, including offering services to individuals without appointments. According to the SSA’s Closing and
Continue Reading Local Social Security Administration Offices Open for Business Again

Central Wisconsin Society for Human Resource Management 2022 Spring Conference – May 5, 2022
Holiday Inn & Suites, Wausau – Rothschild1000 Imperial AveRothschild, WI
Registration – 7:30 am – 8:25 am
Introduction – 8:25
Agenda:
Opening Keynote Presentation – 8:30 – 10:30Traci Schrek, Talent Optimizer – Talent Pathway Planning
The session will help you examine how individual behaviors impact the ability to achieve career goals. You’ll receive a complimentary Predictive Index Assessment to help learn about your behavioral drives and how
Continue Reading 2022 CWSHRM Spring Conference

Just as things were returning to normal after this past year, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases put a pause on the much-anticipated full return to pre-pandemic life.  But Wisconsin shows no signs of reverting to the “stay at home” level of lockdown that we faced in late-spring 2020. With warm weather returning, events will likely become more in-person. Landowners who either host or attempt to profit from attractions should be aware of potential legal concerns involved with doing so.
Continue Reading Know Event, Tourism Rules

All one needs is a simple financial power of attorney … think again.
Wendell knew he needed a financial power of attorney document in order to ensure he named someone to manage his finances and take care of his farm if he was ever unable to do so on his own.

But Wendell was busy and didn’t want to take the time or spend the money to meet with an estate-planning attorney to discuss a power of attorney.  So
Continue Reading Beware Too-Simple Forms

Spring officially begins on March 20th – less than one month away.  In Wisconsin, that means wedding planning is in full swing.  One important item on many wedding planning to-do lists is a pre-nuptial agreement.

We hear a lot about “pre-nups” in pop culture.  One of the most iconic pop culture references is in the song “Gold Digger,” by Kanye West.  The lyrics caution getting married without a pre-nuptial agreement, lest you lose half of your wealth upon divorce. 
Continue Reading Marital Property Agreements: They’re Not Just for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

Wendell knew he needed a financial power of attorney document in order to make sure he named someone to manage his finances and take care of his business if he was ever unable to do so on his own.

However, Wendell was busy and didn’t want to take the time or spend the money to meet with an estate-planning attorney to discuss a power of attorney.

He went online and printed off a basic power of attorney document, signed
Continue Reading Online Document Forms Don’t Always Do the Job

“Protecting the Farm” is a common phrase associated with succession planning but employment considerations are just as important in protecting an agribusiness. Employment considerations include how to protect confidential information and skilled farm employees.

At-Will Employment

Wisconsin is an “at-will” employment state. That means both the employee and the employer are free to terminate the employment relationship at any time, without reason – with limited exceptions.

The at-will doctrine provides flexibility for employers – so long as it’s not
Continue Reading Protecting the Farm: Employment Considerations