Estate Planning

Credit Freeze

Nearly half of Americans may have had their information stolen in the massive Equifax data breach revealed last week.  One way to protect yourself from further harm is to freeze your credit.  A credit freeze prevents creditors from accessing your...

Special Needs Estate Planning

Special needs planning involves parents or caregivers who are interested in ensuring quality of life, advocacy and services to a child or individual with special needs. The planning itself is two-fold: First, parents and caregivers will want to be sure...

Beneficiary Designations

Clients often ask questions about the use of beneficiary designations in their estate planning. Beneficiary designations can be a convenient way to avoid probate in some situations. If an individual is named as a direct beneficiary on an asset, that asset passes...

ABLE Accounts Now Available to Wisconsin Residents

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, enacted by Congress in late 2014, amended Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, permitting states to allow tax-advantaged savings accounts to be established for qualified individuals with disabilities for certain disability-related expenses. Funds held in ABLE Accounts will generally not be considered in determining eligibility for the supplementary security (SSI) program, Medicaid, and certain other federal means-tested benefits.

Life Estates – No Estate Recovery If Created Before August 1, 2014

If you are considering transferring your property to your children and retaining a life estate, you may want to act now to avoid the adverse effects of Wisconsin Act 20, which changed the law to allow estate recovery from certain non-probate assets, including life estates. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced that it will not pursue recovery from life estates created before August 1, 2014.

Wisconsin Act 20

New Wis. Stat. s. 49.849(3)(a), provides that any property of a decedent that is transferred by a person who has possession of the property at the time of the decedent’s death is subject to the right of the DHS to recover the value of the decedent’s interest in the property. The interest in property or value equal to the same is to be transmitted to the DHS. Property of a decedent is defined as:

“all real and personal property to which the recipient had any legal interest in immediately before death, to the extent of that title or interest, including assets transferred to a survivor, heir, or assignee through joint tenancy, tenancy in common, survivorship, life estate, living trust or any other arrangement.”

There is a presumption that all property of a deceased surviving spouse was marital, and therefore, the deceased surviving spouse’s property is also subject to these requirements.

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