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Waukesha Law Blog

The benefits of micro estate planning

When a Wisconsin resident creates a will, it generally allows them to name a guardian for a child. The same is generally true for parents in any other state in the country. However, if a parent passes away or becomes incapacitated suddenly, a child may need care right away. In some cases, a family member or other potential guardian can't get to the child for several hours.

Even if a guardian is listed in a will, a court may need to confirm that this person is fit to take the child. To account for what happens in the time between an incident involving a parent and when a designated guardian can take over, parents can create a micro plan. This provides instructions for a babysitter to call on or other steps to take when a mother or father doesn't make it home from work or a dinner date.

Employment contracts and protecting your business interests

Wisconsin business owners understand the importance of taking certain steps to ensure they have the legal protection necessary to shield the interests of their company. One important way you can do this for your business is to have strong, enforceable contracts, including employment contracts. This specific type of business contract can help you protect your operations in the future. 

Not every company has or needs employment contracts. However, it is important to consider the future needs of your business and determine whether they could prove beneficial for you. As your company grows and more employees are hired, it could become essential to draft these contracts for all of the men and women you employ.

Research shows the most common day for highway deaths is August 2

Some Wisconsin motorists may assume that the worst day of the year for traffic fatalities is during the icy winter or on a popular travel holiday. According to research, however, the deadliest day falls in the middle of summer. Experts give various explanations for this finding.

After reviewing nationwide accident fatality statistics from 2012 through 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined the worst day for highway deaths is August 2. Furthermore, data showed the most dangerous month for fatalities is August. Nearly 16,000 traffic deaths occurred in August during the four year period reviewed.

Estate planning strategies for older singles

Wisconsin residents and others who are 65 and older have a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care. However, people who live alone may lack the support system needed to help provide that care. In most cases, individuals have a spouse or a child to take care of them after a medical emergency or another health issue. A person who has no immediate family available can benefit from cultivating a circle of friends or acquaintances.

These connections can be made by taking part in social events in town or working a part-time job. Remaining employed can be a key factor in being able to live independently without losing the ability to prepare for future health care costs. This is because some employers may offer long-term care policies for workers, and money earned from a job can be used to bolster an emergency fund or retirement account.

More milennials opt for prenups

Fewer young people in Wisconsin see marriage as a life goal, but when they do, they are more likely to pursue a prenuptial agreement in advance. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that 18- to 34-year-olds are particularly likely to seek a prenup before tying the knot. While the recent increase in millennial prenups is a current trend, it reflects the ongoing popularity of these types of agreements. Over the previous 20 years, the frequency of prenuptial agreements has multiplied five times over.

While young people often have fewer financial assets in general, especially as many struggle with underemployment or student debt, they can also have important reasons to seek prenuptial agreements. In the first place, people are marrying at older average ages than in the past. Spouses are more likely to have start-up businesses, retirement funds and advanced careers by the time that they marry. On average, men marry at 29 and women at 27; this is an increase of three and four years, respectively, over the average ages of marriage 30 years ago. They may want to protect their existing investments before entering into a marriage.

Trusts and funding

Wisconsin residents who are concerned about how their estate will be managed after their death should be aware that a trust can be a critical part of an estate plan. Trusts can be used to hold and manage various types of assets.

Individuals can use trusts to ensure that their real estate is handled in a specific way. An attorney who has experience with handling trusts will be able to draft a deed or deed in trust that will transfer the real estate title from the individual to the trust. When the documents are recorded with the appropriate local authorities, the real estate is considered owned by the trust.

Resolving boundary disputes before selling your home

Selling your home is rarely an easy process. Depending on how long you have lived there, you may have drastic purging to do, including cleaning out garages, closets, crawl spaces and other places where you store useless items. You may have minor repairs and cosmetic work to do to improve the appeal of your home, and you will certainly have what may seem like endless packing to do.

One element you may overlook is settling the boundary dispute with your neighbor. Home buyers already know that families next door can be difficult to get to know, and they may quickly lose interest in your property if you are at war with your neighbors over the property line. The best course of action is to settle the matter before you put your house on the market.

About special needs trusts

Wisconsin residents who have a loved one with a disability may consider a special needs trust to assist with their financial needs. The trust can be used to enhance any government benefits that special needs individuals receive. When it is drafted properly, a special needs trust will not interfere with an individual's eligibility for government benefits.

A trust involves a donor who will provide the assets that are placed into the trust. The donor's instructions for a trust are typically detailed in document. A trustee will be responsible for managing the funds in accordance with the donor's wishes, ensuring that the beneficiaries will receive distributions of the funds on a predetermined schedule.

How to organize finances after divorce

Recently divorced Wisconsin residents might have questions about how to get their financial life under control now that their divorce proceedings have been finalized. Here are some tips to bring order and control back to a divorced individual's financial life.

First, it is important to carefully write down all monthly bills and expenses to get an accurate picture of one's finances. Child support payments and alimony payments should not be overlooked. For divorced people, writing down all the financial details of their life is crucial because the financial landscape of one's life can change completely after divorce. It is necessary for people to recognize the realities of their new financial life after divorce.

How to change an estate plan during a divorce

Wisconsin residents who are going through a divorce may also want to think about how a separation could impact their estate plans. For example, one may have a health care proxy that appoints a spouse to make medical decisions in case of incapacity. This could be a bad idea after a divorce, especially when animosity exists between ex-spouses.

A power of attorney gives someone control over an estate owner's assets in case of incapacitation. Unless the divorce is a very amicable one, an ex-spouse might want to make changes to this as well. However, one may have to wait until after the divorce is finalized to change some documents, such as beneficiary designations. On the other hand, it's important to change a will as soon as possible. While it might not be possible to entirely disinherit a spouse, the estate owner could change the will so that the ex only receives the minimum based on state law.

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