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Waukesha Law Blog

Corporations and LLCs offer unique protections

As you consider starting your own company, you may have many questions about the best way to structure your business. You may have heard advice from people who suggest that certain business entities can provide more benefits than others, but such advice may be contradictory and confusing.

You certainly want to establish your business in the manner that will be most advantageous for you. For many entrepreneurs, this decision typically includes a focus on minimizing your tax burden and protecting yourself from liability. If well-meaning friends are advising you to consider a corporation or LLC for your company's entity, it may help you to dispel some of the myths surrounding these options.

Estate planning and asset valuation in the digital age

The estate planning and management process has been complicated in recent years by the increased importance of online identities and digital lives. Individuals in Wisconsin may want to keep certain factors in mind when developing an estate plan to cover not only real and personal property but digital property as well.

Typically, when a person dies, a fiduciary is recognized by the court and given the capacity to act on behalf of the deceased and his or her estate. In the past, the fiduciary would enter the home of the decedent in search of important documents and records. As part of that process, the fiduciary would also find things like letters and journals. The law is clear that the fiduciary has a duty to act in the best interests of the decedent.

Divorce support teams

When a couple in Wisconsin divorces, both spouses are in a vulnerable position. The end of a marriage is a major, and sometimes traumatic, change that can affect various aspects of an individual's life. That's why assembling a support team is very important.

A support team should ideally consist of a mix of friends, family and professionals. Friends and family are crucial at this time as they can provide emotional support to a spouse and the spouse's children. In addition, a strong social network can help a divorcing spouse adjust to life as a single person by providing leads for new employment and housing.

Common errors with beneficiary designations

When Wisconsin residents are creating an estate plan, they might think about wills and trusts and forget about beneficiary designations. These are documents that people sign to name a beneficiary for assets such as a retirement account. Sometimes, they are neglected after life changes.

For example, one woman divorced her husband when her children were young. She updated the beneficiary on her IRA to be her father so he could care for her minor children in the event of her death. Years later, after her children grew up and her father remarried, she moved the IRA to a different investment company and realized she had never removed her father as beneficiary.

Estate planning and leaving a legacy

Some people in Wisconsin might be interested in legacy planning. While some individuals might think the term has connotations of wealth or ego, it simply is another way to think about estate planning.

Leaving a legacy behind can mean helping heirs in some way to achieve their goals. It can also mean preserving and passing on what a person has accomplished in life. Some people may be concerned that legacy planning means they are trying to control how their heirs use the assets they leave behind. However, it does not necessarily mean a person is trying to remain in control of his or her assets.

How do I ask for a prenup?

If you are a child of divorce, you probably have very clear memories of the drama your parents went through during that time. Perhaps you witnessed screaming fights or the cancerous tension that grew into lifelong resentment. Maybe, after the divorce was over, you watched your custodial parent struggle to make ends meet because the divorce left him or her with nothing.

While there are common factors present in many divorcing couples, the results are personal, and you may still be dealing with the emotional trauma of that period in your life. This may be the driving reason behind wanting a prenuptial agreement. If you and your beloved have already agreed to marry, you may be wondering how to raise the topic of making a premarital contract.

Estate planning is for everyone

Many people living in Wisconsin understand the importance of having a will. They know that a will can protect their assets and prevent their loved ones from having to go through a lengthy court process. However, there is more to estate planning than writing a will, and even those who have modest assets can benefit from certain legal strategies.

While a will is a critical component of an estate plan, it has its limitations. A will only covers assets owned by the deceased that are not earmarked for a beneficiary. Insurance policies and retirement accounts, for example, designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Individuals and couples may wish to regularly review all of their policies and accounts and make sure that they are up-to-date in specifying who will benefit from or inherit them.

Factors that may lead to divorce

Most couples in Wisconsin get married without thinking their marriage will end in divorce. However, the fact is that divorce occurs often and may even be predictable. Researchers have found that there are several factors that predict future divorces.

According to a researcher from the University of Utah, people who do not finish high school have a higher chance of getting divorced. Those who tend to withdraw in the face of conflict are also likelier to get divorced as are those who are very affectionate as newlyweds. Spouses who show contempt for their partners and those who negatively describe their relationships are likelier to divorce.

Everyone needs a will in their estate plan

Many Wisconsin residents may think that they aren't wealthy enough to need a will. That is not true. Even the poorest person needs a will. Perhaps they only have a bank account or a beat-up old car, but these are things that need to be disposed of when a person dies.

Money in a bank account needs to be distributed; a car title needs to be changed. Someone needs to do these things, as well as handle distribution or disposal of other property. The executor is the person who does all this. A will allows the person to name who does these things. When there is no will, someone will have to ask the probate court to let them serve as executor.

Chances of getting a divorce

Married couples in Wisconsin may work hard to make sure that their marriages last. However, they may be interested to learn about certain factors that can make them more likely to get a divorce.

The chances that a marriage will last decrease if an individual has been divorced before. Data from the Center for Disease Control indicate that almost 35 percent of first marriages will last no longer than a decade. For people who are in their second marriage, the chances increase to 40 percent.

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