Celebrity Cautionary Tale #243: Late Movie Star’s Will Demonstrates the Peril of Poor Estate Planning

The death of acclaimed, Academy award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at the age of 46 was a great tragedy to his family, friends and fans. Making the circumstance even worse, estate planning experts concluded that Hoffman’s estate plan was a “mess,” falling prey to many common estate planning mistakes. The sad situation highlights that bad […]

More Reasons to Ensure You Review Your Estate Plan Regularly

Today, many people have very diverse assets. Ever-increasing numbers of people have more and more assets that distribute outside a will or trust. One “side effect” of this is the increased complexity involved in estate planning, and the added level of diligence needed to keep that plan updated. You may have kept up with the […]

Who gets the Chippendale and Silver Dollars: Distribution of Collectible or Sentimental Assets

If you are familiar with living trusts, you know that, for a trust to function correctly, you must “fund” your trust, which means you must transfer ownership of assets from your name to the name of your trust. For your home or other real estate, you execute a deed. For your car, truck or boat, […]

Your Guardian, Your Estate Plan and End-of-Life Decisions

In neighboring Minnesota, the state Supreme Court is considering whether the law in that state gives court-appointed guardians the authority to withhold medical care for their wards, and allow them to die. Although the outcome of this case would only impact the law in Minnesota, and have no impact on guardians and ward in Wisconsin, […]

Will Contest Tip: Outlandish, Unsubstantiated Claims are Not a Substitute for Relevant Facts, Applicable Law

Sadly, not all family interactions are warm ones. Animosities between relatives may fester for years and eventually spill into the courtroom. While much of what fueled the case of In re the Estate of William G. Wenkman appears to have been the strong emotions of one group of children, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ ruling […]

Who Gets Your Small Business?

Small business owners are constantly brainstorming new business plans, new ways to innovate or new ways to make their business even more attractive to the public. Along the way, though, too many overlook one essential aspect of business planning, which is establishing a clear direction for their business after their death, and ensuring that the […]

“I Signed What?”: Father’s Execution of Five-Year-Old Will Without Reading Leads Court to Invalidate Document

While the law creates a standard that presumes most wills to be valid, there are a variety of ways in which a will may be declared invalid. One recent ruling by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals clearly demonstrates the care and meticulousness that should go into executing a will, and the problems that can arise […]