Tax & Wealth Advisor Blog

Keen observers of human behavior know a couple of things to be true. 1. In the absence of information, people assume the worst 2. People flee uncertainty My clients are smart, successful people that have built enviable businesses. Intuitively, they know these “truths.” But to their detriment, they forget them. Instead, if they actually do […]

There is a great quote from Oliver Wendall Holmes on complexity: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity”. Of course, there is the other great quote about complexity with its author of unknown origin: […]

Most states, including Wisconsin, have a statute that automatically revokes as beneficiary a divorced spouse once the divorce is final.  See, e.g., Wis. Stat. § 854.15.  This means that, unless your will, trust, IRA, 401(k), life insurance, etc., provides otherwise, once a divorce decree is final, an individual’s ex-spouse and the ex-spouse’s relatives receive nothing […]

The fourth sin is when the business owner makes the assumption that because the estate planning documents are complete, the succession plan is complete.  An estate plan is a strategy for a person to take care of the people he or she cares about.  The strategy incorporates two things: getting the right property to the […]

The third sin committed in succession planning is when the business owner fails to treat the business like a business. This sin is a common one for closely-held businesses. Remember that the goal of succession planning is to maximize the value of the business to take care of the people that Mom and Dad care […]

The second sin committed in succession planning is when the business owner acts too much like a parent and mistakes “fairly” with “equally.”  The origin of this sin starts on the date the second child is born.  As parents, Mom and Dad want to make sure each child knows that they love him or her […]

Over the next few weeks, this blog will analyze the Seven Deadly Sins of Succession Planning.  And what are those sins?  They are the mistakes business owners make in attempting to make the transition of their closely-held business successful.  Why do they make them?  They forget the most important fundamental that their estate plan needs to […]

Understanding the rules of IRA distributions is like taking a trip through our childhood.  Remember Goldilocks and the three bears? Too hot, too cold, just right? IRA distributions work a sort of the same way. Cannot Be Too Early IRAs were created by Congress to be retirement savings vehicles.  Because of that intent, Congress (through the […]

The revocable trust is the document that is almost always the centerpiece of the estate plan. Simply put, the revocable trust is almost always the document that controls who gets what. That might be counterintuitive to some people who assume the Will is the “dispositive document.” But, most often, the Will serves only two purposes: […]

As an estate planning attorney, the most common question I get—both from potential clients and at cocktail parties (or kids’ soccer games)—is, “do I need a Will?” Now, I know that a lot of estate planners have a simple, consistent three letter answer for that is, “YES”.  But that is not my answer.  My answer, maybe a […]