Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. Attorneys at Law — Founded 1908

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Get Your Estate Planning Completed Today

I talk to people nearly every week who tell me that they have wanted to get a will and other estate documents completed for a long time, but for whatever reason they have continued to put it off.  I explain to these people the risks of dying without a will or becoming incompetent while they are alive without power of attorneys.  When they hear what could happen if they don't have a will or power of attorneys in place, that is usually all the motivation that a person needs to get these documents completed today. 

Usually most people want and need a basic estate plan with a will and health care/financial power of attorneys.  Your Will may address issues such as who the beneficiaries of your estate will be, who will administer the estate should you pass away (i.e. the personal representative), and who will be guardian for your children.  Other issues may be addressed if necessary.  Sometimes people may want or need a revocable or irrevocable trust depending on their circumstances.  If you die without a will, you risk that your estate will pass to your heirs according to state law.  You might not like that outcome.  You also risk that the state will appoint a guardian for your minor children, a person you might not have chosen or wanted as guardian for your children.  If you do not have a power of attorney for your health and finances, should you become incompetent, you can not have a person act on your behalf without a court order usually obtained through a guardianship proceeding.   A guardianship proceeding can be time intensive, costly, and you are at the mercy of the court's decision as to who is appointed your guardian. 

This article provides you with just a brief sample of the complications that may arise if you do not finalize your estate planning.  Do not wait for something to happen to you.  Make sure you plan for yourself and your family.  Contact Greg Babcock at our office to discuss your estate planning needs further.   

HAVE YOU PLANNED AHEAD FOR WHEN YOU ARE GONE?

While it can seem unpleasant discussing what happens to your property and/or money when you are gone, it is necessary.  Especially if you have children.  It is even more so in today’s world of blended families and families in which the parents have decided not to marry.

What happens to your children when you have passed away?  Will they be provided for?  Have you recently been divorced?  How about remarried?  Who will stand to inherit your property and money when you pass?  How about the probate process, will your family need to deal with this?  And, will there be large tax consequences to how your money and property are transferred?  Wisconsin has very specific laws on this subject.

Your attorney can help you assess your needs and how you want your possessions to be handled upon your passing.  Things can happen in the blink of any eye.  The attorneys at Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. can assist you with your estate planning needs.

INVESTOR MALPRACTICE

Persons entrust financial advisers to make wise decisions in the handling of their money.  Many times the investments perform poorly or lose money. 

INVESTOR LIABILITY IN WISCONSIN
So long as the investor applied competent techniques in analyzing the investment and advised his or her client appropriately, there is generally no liability to the investor or the financial institution that employs him/her.  But in some cases investors make blatant mistakes that are not attributable to fluxuations in the stock market.  For instance, investors may take actions that create unwarranted tax liability for their clients, or make decisions based on what commissions they can generate for themselves rather than decisions that benefit their clients. In such cases, persons suffering from the situations do have recourse.

FINRA ARBITRATIONS
Generally there is an agreement in place that the parties agree NOT to go to court but instead agree to arbitrate the matter through the Financial Institution Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  FINRA requires the aggrieved investor or financial adviser to file a complaint and then appoints an impartial third party to arbitrate the matter and function much the same way a judge would operate.

There is also an opportunity to mediate the matter.  However the process is complex. A person not represented by experienced legal counsel would be at a big disadvantage against the financial institution that is denying they have any responsibility to fix the problem that it’s financial advisers created.

CONTACT A LOCAL ATTORNEY
If you have such a situation in the Green Bay Wisconsin area, you should contact Attorney David Daul of Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C., for further consultation. He is an attorney experienced in this area of the law. Call (920)437-8191, or contact him online today. The experienced attorneys and staff at our local law firm are ready, willing and able to assist you.

Tags: Business Law Estate Planning Litigation

REMOVAL FROM CONDOMINIUM

Real estate is sometimes put into a Condominium for the convenience of the property owners or to increase the marketability of the property.  However, in certain cases, when the Condominium becomes no longer economical or useful to the owner or owners, there may be a circumstance where the property should be removed from Condominium.

CONDOMINIUM REMOVAL PROCESS
In Wisconsin, the process of removal from Condominium involves obtaining the consent of any party which has a lien upon the property, such as mortgage holders, and then having the removal instrument duly recorded.  The resulting arrangement is that the former owners of the Condominiums become “Tenants in Common”.  This may or may not be advantageous to the Condominium owners, and it must be considered before a removal from Condominium occurs. Co-tenants, for instance, have an equal right to possess the property, and neither tenant can exclude the other.  Upon death, the interest of the deceased co-tenant will pass to the co-tenant’s heirs.

There are other facets of tenancy in common that may or may not be desirable.  Before such a real estate transaction is attempted, you should consult with a local Wisconsin attorney who has significant experience in this area, such as Green Bay Attorney David Daul, of Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C.  Please call David for further consultation at (920) 437-8191.

LIFE INSURANCE POLICY EXCLUSIONS AND BENEFICIARY

Many people own term life insurance policies which, like all policies, contain exclusions. Exclusions provide that under certain circumstances benefits are not payable. Often times there is confusion as to whether a certain fact situation involving a death would qualify as a “exclusion.” Insurance companies typically are quite quick to assert the benefit of an “exclusion.” However, often times there is room to argue that the exclusion would not apply and that the benefit should be payable. A circumstance, for instance, might be that a group life insurance policy (a policy provided through work) provides that an employee will not receive benefits if the death involves the employee driving while intoxicated. Such policies often require specific blood test types and blood test results. However, often, it is the case that not only the type of test that is existent and the result of that test do not clearly “exclude benefits.” Another common dispute in life insurance policies is who the beneficiary is. Often time’s beneficiary forms are filled out improperly or in a way that is unclear as to naming the beneficiary. If similar circumstances exist, please contact David at to discuss your case in greater detail. The attorneys at Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Wanezek & Jaekels law firm can help you today!

Tags: Employment Law Estate Planning Family Law Probate

DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS AND INHERITANCE RIGHTS

In 2009, the Wisconsin Legislature created a series of statutes which govern domestic partnerships. These statutes establish the procedure for the creation of a domestic partnership. Because of this, same sex domestic partnerships are now offered some of the protections and rights afforded to married couples. In addition to a variety of other rights and protections, same sex domestic partners gained many probate and inheritance rights.

To establish a same sex domestic partnership, five separate requirements must be met. First, each person entering into a domestic partnership must be of at least 18 years of age or older and capable of consenting to the partnership. Second, neither partner can be married or in a domestic partnership with someone else. Third, the two individuals must share a common residence, although both do not need title to it nor have it as their primary residence. Fourth, the partners cannot be second cousins or of a closer relationship. Finally they must both be of the same gender to enter into a same sex domestic partnership. After 30 days and with the proper documentation they can then file and become a domestic partnership.

Once a same sex domestic partnership is established, a surviving partner receives the benefits and protections of probate and inheritance enjoyed by married couples. They will be allowed a family allowance, access to select personal items, and assignment of the property interest in the property the domestic partners. When there is no will, the surviving partner will have rights similar to a surviving spouse. Failure to provide for a surviving same sex domestic partner in a will or similar instrument created before the partnership will still allow the surviving partner to receive an intestate share. However, should a domestic partnership be terminated, provision for a domestic partner in a will, trust, insurance contracts and other things will be revoked. Same sex domestic partners have gained many of the probate rights of married couples by the passage of this legislation.

Tags: Probate Estate Planning

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