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Blog - Estate Planning, Wills, & Elder Law

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Thinking of challenging a will? Consider the risk of disinheritance.

It is possible to challenge a will after someone has passed away, but it's a risky undertaking.

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5 Legal Tips to Consider Before Retirement

Most Americans look forward to their retirement for years, if not decades, but before you ride off into the retirement sunset, consider these legal tips. 

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5 tips for choosing a great lawyer

Whether you need help with estate planning, a divorce or a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want and need to have the right attorney in your corner.

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After you're gone: tips for handling your digital property

My spouse and I are wondering what will happen to our Facebook accounts when we pass away. Does Facebook shut them down? Will our accounts remain as long as Facebook is still in business?


At times, guardianship may be needed

Even with financial and healthcare powers of attorney, there may be times when a court-ordered guardianship is needed for individuals unable to make decisions for themselves.

Avoid common estate planning mistakes

At first glance, estate planning can seem like an unpleasant task.

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Charitable giving: tips for gifts that last

As another season of giving rolls around, many again will be deciding whether to give, to whom and how much.


Choosing an Attorney: Five Tips to Follow

Whether you need help with estate planning, a divorce or a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want and need to have the right attorney in your corner.

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Debunked: five myths about wills and probate

“People have many reasons for putting off estate planning,” says Prinsen, “many of which are due to common myths.”


Divestment: Understanding legal alternatives

With nursing home costs now topping $100,000 per year, it’s no wonder many seniors need the help of Medical Assistance or Medicaid when they hit a major health crisis.

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Divorce could be answer to long-term care expense

Though it sounds extreme, divorce can be a way to protect assets when a spouse needs long-term care.

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Do we have to repay financial gift?

A relative gifted us money. Now she says we mismanaged it and told us to get a good lawyer.

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Empty nesters: do we need to update our estate plan?

We sent our youngest child off to college last fall and are now officially empty nesters. Is there anything we need to do with our will at this point?

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Estate planning eases headaches and heartaches for survivors

While you may not have a fortune to bequeath, most people have at least some assets to leave behind.

Estate planning for parents: should the guardian and the trustee be the same person

My husband and I just had a baby and are doing our first will.

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Estate Planning Guide: From age 18 to 118

Many people are surprised to learn that estate planning becomes relevant for all upon turning 18. Check this guide to see what you need at this point in your life. 

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Estate planning through the ages

One size does not fit all when it comes to estate planning. Each of us has different needs and priorities, depending on where we and our family members are in our lives. 

Estate planning: don't forget to plan for your digital estate

Estimates indicate 30 million Facebook accounts belong to dead people. 

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Estate planning: how do I discuss it with my aging parents?

Whether 80 or 18, every adult should have at least one or two documents.

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Even young parents should plan for what might happen

As a father of twin boys, attorney Anthony Gingrasso wants to make sure they are protected if anything happens to him and his wife. He knows it is a difficult subject. “Death is not something that any of us want to think about,” Gingrasso said. 

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Five everyday legal tips to make life easier

Life can be messy. Thankfully, with a little legal planning, some of the messiest aspects of life can be minimized or prevented altogether. These five legal tips can help you preemptively smooth out some of the transitions and trials of life.

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Five tips for choosing a lawyer

Chances are at some point in your life, you'll need a lawyer. It is the nature of the complex world we live in that sometimes we need the guidance of an attorney to protect our interests. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure you get the caliber of representation you deserve. 

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Funerals and burials: law provides choice

If you'd rather have someone other than next of kin make your funeral and burial arrangements, you can do so in Wisconsin through a law called Authorization for Final Disposition.

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Getting engaged: legal considerations lack romance

Valentine's Day isn't just all about love and chocolate. If it includes a marriage proposal, it can also be about oral contracts and conditional gifts.

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Getting out of timeshare contracts

"My wife and I bought a timeshare a few years ago and it’s just not what we expected or want. We’ve been trying to sell it now for a few months and then hired a company to help us, but we’ve had no interest from anyone. How can we get out?"


How giving affects Medicaid eligibility

Tax rules surrounding gifting and Medicaid are separate, but gifting may affect eligibility. 

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Judge Judy versus small claims court: a battle for the real people's court

Our top six comparisons between Judge Judy and the real deal, better known to us as small claims court.


Legal advice pays off when buying/selling a home

For most of us, a house is our most expensive and significant purchase in life. If ever there is a time to call in professional help, this would be it.

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New legislation means taxpayers must act fast

Without doubt, this can be a busy—and stressful—time of year. In addition to the bustle of the holiday, this week also marks the last in which to make important year-end tax decisions.


New Parent Legal Checklist

Once you become a parent, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Many days, one just feels lucky to take a shower. But it’s critical to make time to protect your baby and yourself with these important legal planning steps.

New Power of Attorney rules take effect Sept. 1, 2010

A new law in Wisconsin clarifies rules governing durable powers of attorney for finances, also known as a “POA.”

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Plan now for big estate recovery changes

The countdown to Aug. 1, 2014 is on, but few Wisconsinites recognize the importance of that date. 

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Planned Giving: Should we leave our favorite charity a percentage or specific dollar amount

Attorney Katelyn Doyle recommends using a percentage rather than a dollar amount in your will.

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Prenuptial agreements can be smart estate planning tools

The rising number of second and subsequent marriages combined with the rising age of first-time brides and grooms means more people are bringing more assets and children into marriages than ever before.

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Preparing your executor or trustee for success

While death is not a favorite dinnertime conversation, it’s crucial to set aside time to talk with those you have designated to manage your estate when you’re gone.

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Prince had no will...

Prince may have been a bit prescient about life in some of his lyrics (after all it is reported he died in an elevator), but he probably should have planned better for when the grim reaper came knocking on his (elevator) door…

Property Ownership: How Do We Keep Property in the Family?

How do we put my mother's real estate in mine and my siblings’ names in a way that keeps it in the immediate family?

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Q&A: Can I do estate planning without an attorney?

My spouse and I have resolved to get our estate planning started this year. I have some friends who did it on their own, and I’m wondering if I can too or if I should use a lawyer.

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Quick guide to types of trusts

This infographic offers a quick guide to the most common types of trusts.

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Rejected: top 3 reasons people are denied Social Security disability income

Three of every five Social Security disability income and SSI claims are rejected on first application in Wisconsin each year. Understanding why can help you determine whether you have an approvable claim.

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Revising Your Estate Plan During and After Divorce

You are separated. Is this the time to change beneficiaries on life insurance and your retirement accounts?

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Same-sex marriage v. Domestic partnerships

Now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation, many same-sex couples in Wisconsin are wondering how that affects domestic partnerships. The answer is it doesn’t. The domestic partnership law still exists and is available to all adult couples. 

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Second marriage: how do we keep our assets separate?

I am in my 50s and engaged to be married this year.

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Should you take your spouse's name?

Nearly 30,000 Wisconsin brides each year must decide whether to change their names when they marry. Among those, roughly 60 to 80 percent do take their husbands’ last names.

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Six reasons to reconsider marriage later in life

By the time some single or divorced people reach age 50 or 60, they’ve sworn off marriage, even if they’re in a committed relationship.

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Six Reasons to Review Your Estate Plan

With a new year comes those recurring resolutions to exercise more and eat less, save more and spend less and so on. An important one that’s often overlooked, however, is reviewing your estate plan.

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Social Security: can I collect benefits from ex-spouse's account?

Am I eligible to receive benefits from my ex-husband's account?

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Succession planning: turning your company over to the next generation

Your business is going well and even includes two of your six kids in its management. What will happen when you decide to retire or die?


Three legal steps to take when baby comes

Even though Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s baby will be born into vast wealth and celebrity, they still have one thing in common with married parents in our neck of the woods.

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Time-Share Property Pitfalls: What to Consider Before You Buy

Picture this: you’re on vacation in a beautiful place, a resort employee buys you lunch, and at the height of your hedonism, you purchase a time-share. Just like that, your once-in-a-lifetime becomes once-a-year.


Top 5 Legal Issues for Pregnant Women and New Moms

As with any major life change, when you’re pregnant or bringing a new baby home, there are often accompanying legal considerations. 

Updating your will.... and your estate

You finally realized the importance of writing your will a few years ago and got it done. Whew. That's over with. Or is it?


What does it mean to be an executor in a will?

My parents just told me I’ve been named executor of their will. What does that mean? What does an executor do?


What we can learn from Picasso about estate planning

While one might be tempted to think of estate planning as merely having your will in place, it's really about much more. It's like a puzzle, where you need to be certain all the pieces fit together. 

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Wills and powers of attorney: can I mark changes on original document?

Can I just line out the previous name of my personal representative, print the new name and initial it for the change to be viewed as a legal and binding change?

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Wills vs. trusts: Which is right for me?

While most people appreciate the need for a will in an estate plan, trusts are less widely understood.