What is a warranty deed in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin property deeds, the documents used to legally transfer property between two parties, fall into a few different categories. Two of them are: Warranty Deed and Quit Claim Deeds. Both types of deeds include a legal description of the property (beyond just the address), grantor (current property owner), and grantee (new property owner). Most Wisconsin property deeds need a signature.

The Wisconsin property deed needs to be filed in the county where the property is located. The difference between the deeds are the guarantees included the Wisconsin property deeds. To determine the type of deed that suits the situation, contact a local real estate attorney that can offer advice and draft a legally-sound deed.

Warranty Deeds

A Warranty Deed offers the most guarantees of all the Wisconsin property deeds, meaning that the grantor is responsible for transferring clear title. The Warranty Deed offers guarantees or covenants to the grantee, such as:

  • The grantor guarantees that they are the lawful owner.
  • The grantor guarantees that the property is lien-free and is not subject to any claims by third parties.
  • The grantor guarantees that the title is clear.

Quit Claim Deeds

A Quit Claim Deed is a Wisconsin property deed with no guarantees. Because of the lack of protection for the grantee, Quit Claim Deeds are typically used in situations where there is some degree of trust. These situations could include the transfer of interest during a divorce, when property is transferred to a living trust, or during a transfer from an individual to a corporate entity. Under a quit claim deed, the grantor transfers their interest in the property to the grantee.

A warranty deed and quit claim are the two most commonly used Wisconsin property deeds. Other types of Wisconsin property deeds might be useful to the situation; contact anexperienced real estate attorney to get legal advice specific to the situation. In addition to advising on the right type of Wisconsin property deed, an experienced real estate attorney can guide the parties through the process and ensure that every document and step is legally sound.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

20 Reasons to Hire a Wisconsin Real Estate Lawyer

Real estate matters are a big deal with long-term implications, both financial and legal. The only party that can give legal advice in these significant matters are real estate lawyers. Because a real estate lawyer does not work on commission, real estate lawyers dispense unbiased advice because they have no interests in the matter.

With so many documents and steps in the real estate transaction, real estate lawyers can also be invaluable when navigating through a real estate matter. Real estate lawyers can break down documents and the process for clients, allowing them to make an informed decision. The lawyers can identify issues throughout the process and assist in resolving matters. Real estate lawyers can also advice clients of legal risks involved in the transaction, both short- and long-term. If the transaction results in legal conflict, a real estate lawyer can assist in the resolution.

With so many advantages of hiring a real estate lawyer, potential homeowners, business owners, farm managers, developers, landlords, and other parties can benefit from the services of a real estate lawyer. In Wisconsin, a real estate lawyer can assist with these matters. (This list is not all-inclusive. Contact a local real estate lawyer for a consultation pertaining to the specific matter.)

Real Estate Lawyer Services

  1. Purchasing rental properties
  2. Selling a home to a child or family member
  3. Buying a home from a parent
  4. Purchasing a home
  5. Title examinations
  6. Zoning issues
  7. Resolving Homeowner Association issues
  8. Construction contract review and issues
  9. Drafting land contracts
  10. Resolving conflicts with property titles
  11. Drafting development agreements
  12. Filing liens
  13. Resolution of boundary line disputes
  14. Purchasing land
  15. Drafting land rental agreements
  16. Reviewing offers to purchase a property
  17. Selling land
  18. Renting land to another party
  19. Drafting and negotiating brokerage agreements
  20. Dealing with restrictive covenants

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Starting a Wisconsin Business? Avoid these Legal Mistakes

why do small businesses fail

The first days of a new business are filled with decisions that can make or break a business. Along with a registration process, starting a new business comes with marketing, logistical, and legal decisions. While the latter may not be at the top of a new small business owner’s checklist, legal decisions can have positive and negative impacts on the health of the business. To avoid the negative consequences, avoid these common legal mistakes that small business owners make when starting a business.

Choosing a business entity without considering options

One of the most important decisions for any new business owner, choosing the business entity, has long-lasting legal and financial implications. There are many options, such as sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), partnership, and corporation. The type of business entity determines required documentation and tax payments, specifics of the resolution of liability issues, and whether raising money is possible. Choosing the wrong business entity can negatively impact both business and personal finances; contact an experienced business lawyer to determine the best business entity for the specific business situation.

Not drafting a partnership agreement

Entering into a business partnership is a common practice that can come with pitfalls, especially when a formal Partnership Agreement is not drafted. The Partnership Agreement is a legal document that should be drafted by a lawyer and customized for every party involved in the business. The document should include financial details, responsibilities of each partner, and information for a smooth conflict resolution and transition (if a partner wants to leave the business). All these details should be on paper; a verbal agreement or the absence of any Partnership Agreement can lead to serious conflicts and legal situations that could have been prevented.

Neglecting to put deals in writing

Documentation with other parties can feel like another unnecessary step, but actually serves as a protective safeguard. This applies even to subcontractors, which is often a necessary part of running a small business. Before subcontracting any work with other parties, contact an experienced business to draft a Confidentiality Agreement that ensures proprietary information is kept confidential and an Independent Contractor Agreement to put details of the arrangement down on paper.

Not establishing a hiring protocol

The hiring process comes with its own set of requirements. Specifically, certain paperwork needs to be obtained and kept on file. A business should also draft an Employee Offer Letter that spells out the details of the job, steps of conflict resolution, and includes any rules or regulations your employees need to be aware of. A few minutes of preparation and research can save a new business owner many headaches now and in the future.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Business Contracts Every Small Business Should Have

small business owner with contractSmall business owners are busy professionals with a long task list. Often lost on the to-do list is securing the contracts that contribute to long-term success—and prevent negative legal issues later. Fortunately, the task doesn’t have to be cumbersome if the right legal professionals are consulted. Note, too, that there is value in consulting a local lawyer knowledgeable in local regulations.

This list of business contracts is not inclusive; there are other business contracts necessary for day-to-day operations. To get a comprehensive list and customized contracts, contact an experienced business lawyer.

Partnership Agreement

Drafting a Partnership Agreement is an important step in starting a business (including choosing an entity, more information here) that can have long-term ramifications. A Partnership Agreement is between all parties that invest in a business and should include the financial details, rights, and responsibilities.

The Partnership Agreement should detail the parties involved in the business, how profits and losses are handled, steps to be followed if a partner wants to leave the business, duties of each party, conflict resolution steps, and any process information for adding a partner. Because the details in the document need to be as specific as possible, contact a lawyer to draft this important contract. The absence of a Partnership Agreement may lead to serious conflicts and legal situations that could have been prevented.

Independent Contractor Agreement

Outsourcing services is an essential step for most small businesses. After all, there are some processes that make more financial sense to outsource as opposed to hiring an employee (and incurring those costs). In addition to independent contractors, this contract can also be used to short-term employees and consultants. An Independent Contractor Agreement details the exact nature of the relationship and that the business is not responsible for financial and tax obligations incurred for an employee.

Employee Offer Letter

Hiring an employee is a process that should be formalized before the first employee is hired. This eliminates any situations that can turn into a headache later, both legal and financial. An Employee Offer Letter explicitly spells out the details of the job, such as the position title, responsibilities, and finances. “At will” language should be included to indicate that the position can be terminated by the company or employee. The Employee Offer Letter should also specify other details, such as conflict resolution and that a Confidentiality Agreement should be signed.

Confidentiality Agreement

A Confidentiality Agreement is a vital part of business asset protection. This contract ensures that business proprietary information is kept confidential. This document should be signed by any party (employee or otherwise) that needs access to proprietary information or may develop products, strategies, or services that may become proprietary.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

What type of business entity should I choose?

person signing a document for starting a businessStarting a new business is a process with an extensive amount of decisions. One of the most important decisions for any new business owner, choosing the business entity when incorporating, is more abstract, but has significant legal and financial implications for the future. Specifically, the type of business entity determines required documentation and tax payments, specifics of the resolution of liability issues, and whether raising money is possible.

With so much at stake, settling on the right business structure is a decision that should be made after much thought and advice. This article is not meant to give the latter, only to inform potential business owners of the basic types of business. For expertise specific to the situation, contact a local lawyer that can assist with the decision, filing the correct paperwork, and any other best-laid practices that can prevent serious issues.

Sole Proprietor

A sole proprietor business structure is the picture that most people associate with a business. The business owner manages all daily operations, assets, and liabilities. Under this business structure, the owner is personally responsible for all liabilities. Sole proprietor businesses are appropriate for many different kinds of businesses, including service-oriented and at-home businesses.

Partnership

A partnership is a business structure with multiple owners. Because there are multiple partners, the profits, taxes, and liabilities are shared. With several owners, the partners are all personally responsible for liabilities. Practically, this business structure is ideal because owners can share the workload, benefits of business services (i.e. marketing, operational needs, supply purchasing, etc.) and contribute individual expertise.

Limited Liability Company

A LLC is right for company owners who want to limit their personal responsibility for liabilities (plus other advantages and disadvantages which can be discussed with a lawyer or business adviser). Often, a limited liability company is comprised of different owners with differing amounts of investment. If an owner wants to leave the company, they are only responsible for the amount invested.

Corporation

A corporation is an entity that is formed and taxed. Managers are not personally responsible for the liabilities, though a corporation can be expensive to form. A corporation can be funded by a pool of investors and run by directors. Because of the entity structure, extensive records are required and the profits are distributed to investors.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Why should you draft a business succession plan?

hands of family business where they are doing business succession planningBusiness succession is a long-term plan that many Wisconsin business owners neglect—and with dire consequences. Our state is certainly not alone; a recent survey done by Nationwide stated that as many as three out of five business owners across the United States have not initiate the business succession process.

While it may not always be pleasant to think about the unexpected illness or personal circumstances that can pull a business owner away (though it can be enjoyable to consider retirement), the effort can be incredibly valuable when those situations occur. Business succession plans can be vital for the short-term (such as when an owner is ill) and long-term survival of a business (after a partner’s retirement). The effort can also be useful for selecting long-term strategies that can make the business transition financially feasible.

The business succession process inevitably boils down to the question, “who is the next owner/partner best for the business?” On a family farm or in a family-owned process, the answer (or answers) might be obvious as the next generation has indicated their interest. Non-family managers might also be candidates; identifying those parties is vital to the success of the business. If the next owner is actually numerous parties in a partnership, it can be helpful to identify their roles and put the financial details of the transition down on paper.

A good succession plan also addresses the issue of continuity, both during a short-term emergency (i.e. illness, personal emergency, etc.) and when an owner or partner decides to leave the business. This aspect of the plan addresses the interim and transitional situations and how to keep the business running—and succeeding—for the long-term.

By undertaking the business succession process early, areas of growth can also be identified and addressed. Put simply, what areas does the next generation of leaders need to learn to effectively manage the business? For continuity and success, it’s best to train and learn earlier so the next leader—or group of leaders—can gain experience now, such as when the owner wants to step away for a vacation or family need.

Another reason for tackling business succession early is the sheer amount of time it takes to develop and finalize a business succession plan. The planning process involves many different aspects that should involve the consulting of key financial consultants and legal experts. The process involves multiple steps that can take years to completely address and finalize.

Since lawyers are an integral part of ensuring that the business succession plan meets all legal criteria, it makes sense to start by contacting an experienced local business lawyer. A business lawyer can ask all the right questions and create a custom (and legally sound) business succession plan that contributes to success long after the owner or partner has stepped away.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

20+ Reasons Your Business Needs a Lawyer

business owners shaking over contract that a lawyer draftedA successful business is started and run with more than just in-depth knowledge of the selected industry. Legal knowledge is an integral part of start-up and day-to-day operations, saving the business from the expenses of a legal mistake or a legal action.

An experienced local business lawyer can be invaluable in many different situations, from navigating local Wisconsin zoning laws to resolving contract disputes. The list of situations that lawyers can assist with are long. This list of legal issues are just a few reasons to contact a lawyer to resolve conflicts and avoid the proverbial legal hot water.

  1. Starting a business (entity selection such as a LLC, LLP, C Corp, etc.)
  2. Purchasing a business
  3. Strategic legal and tax planning
  4. Operating agreements
  5. Drafting and editing by-laws
  6. Change of entity
  7. Buy-sell agreements
  8. Buy-back agreements
  9. Redemption agreements
  10. Drafting legal contracts
  11. Contract disputes
  12. Business torts
  13. Sale and acquisition of business assets and/or a business entity
  14. Business merger
  15. Dissolution of business entity
  16. Distribution of business assets to creditors and stakeholders
  17. Business succession plan
  18. Farm succession plan
  19. Property rental agreements
  20. Land rental contracts
  21. Collecting unpaid bills and debts
  22. Terminating a business

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Common (and Costly) Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

grandparents with children after granted third-party visitation in WisconsinEstate planning is a process; one that can be fraught with costly and inefficient mistakes. These are some of the most common and expensive estate planning mistakes that Wisconsin residents make as they plan (or don’t plan) for the unexpected.

Avoiding estate planning all together

Not wanting to think about death may be human nature, but that avoidance can also be a major mistake. Estate planning makes a very difficult time easier for friends and family. The planning process also allows a person to take steps to ensure that family is provided for after death; in Wisconsin, if an estate plan is not present, Wisconsin’s intestacy succession laws go into effect. All organization of assets are done according to the law, without regard for the deceased’s wishes. Estate planning can also become a vehicle for organizing assets in preparation for the next phase of life (i.e. establishing a living trust, etc.) and for an expedient process after death.

Assuming a will is the only estate planning document

A comprehensive estate plan is a collection of documents appropriate for the client’s situation (contact an attorney to get recommendations and advice on the right estate planning documents). Since every situation is different, the right estate planning documents are custom and drafted to the benefit of the client. A complete estate plan can expedite the probate process, organize assets and liabilities, and provide clear guidance during very difficult times (i.e. when a loved one is very ill or has passed away).

Not drafting advance directives

When an incident happens that incapacitates a person—an accident, illness, mental affliction, etc.—-the person’s family is not automatically authorized to make legal decisions in Wisconsin.  For that reason, advanced directives, also termed the Power of Attorney forms, are an essential part of an estate plan. Advance directives give legal authorization and instructions for vital financial and health care decisions that need to be made when a party is not able to.

Not Updating Beneficiaries

Naming beneficiaries is an important function of estate planning, but one that often is neglected or incomplete. Many people do not give this important estate planning task the attention it deserves. The beneficiaries listed in all estate planning documents should match the designation on all assets, such as life insurance policies. Designations should also be updated as circumstances change. For example, if a couple divorces, all estate planning forms (and asset documents) should be updated to reflect the change in relationship. Beneficiaries should also be named in case the primary beneficiaries are not available.

Not considering document storage

A well-prepared estate plan is useless if it’s not accessible during difficult times. In the past it was common to store legal documents in a lock box; today that strategy can make a very difficult time more challenging. If the lock box is in the deceased’s name (even if the executor is given access), the family needs to go through a legal process to get to the documents. Make the process easier for friends and family by considering accessible options for storage, such as a lawyer’s office or fire-proof safe. It can also be helpful to give copies of the will to significant parties, such as the executor and guardian named in the will.

Forgetting to update estate planning documents

All documents and insurance policies should be reviewed and updated periodically as circumstances change. Specifically, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to update documents when additional children are born, when additional beneficiaries need to be added, the executor name needs to be changed, family relationships have been changed, or there is a significant increase or decrease in assets.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Guide to Creating an Estate Plan in Wisconsin

family walking on beach after estate planning in wisconsinMost Wisconsin residents associate estate planning with drafting a will—and nothing more. In reality, there is more to the process, such as drafting directives that guide family and friends during difficult times. As a whole, an estate plan is a package of legal documents that lead to an optimal financial outcome and expedient process for all parties involved and detail the wishes of the incapacitated or deceased.

Because everyone’s situation varies, the exact estate planning documents and arrangements needed are different for every household (and sometimes for individual household members). The details of an estate plan can also vary from state to state. In general, however, the initial steps for creating an estate plan are similar, including where to start the estate planning process.

Gather information about assets and liabilities.

Estate planning is not entirely about financial matters; however, finances are an integral part of every estate plan. To give professionals a comprehensive view of the financial situation, compile a list of assets and liabilities. This information should include financial accounts, life insurance policies, any financial debts, and other liabilities that needs to be factored into the estate. This information can also be used to calculate the net worth of the estate; this step needs to be done to determine if and what taxes the estate is subject to.

Have important discussions.

Beyond the owner of the estate, there are other parties that are named in estate planning documents. These parties need to be chosen, including:

  • Beneficiary or beneficiaries. These parties receive assets from the estate. Beneficiaries, commonly called heirs, can be individuals (i.e. family members, friends, associates) or organizations (i.e. charities).
  • Executor. This party should be a responsible individual that ensures all the terms of the estate planning documents are executed. An executor can be a friend, family member, or associate, such as a lawyer or other firm.
  • Guardian. This party is named as the caregiver for minors when the owner of the estate is incapacitated or deceased. (Read more about choosing and naming a guardian for children.)

A discussion with these parties is not required for estate planning; however, discussions can be invaluable with all parties involved (including friends or family members that are not named in the estate plan) so the execution of the estate plan is seamless and efficient. When executors, beneficiaries, and guardians are named, information about the parties should be collected (contact an estate planning lawyer to find out what information is needed). If the choice of beneficiaries, executors, or guardian changes, these parties can (and should) be changed and updated.

Contact an experienced local estate planning lawyer.

There are several different estate planning options, such as a will, advanced directives, irrevocable and revocable living trust. An experienced, local estate planning lawyer can recommend the best documentation and arrangements suited to the specific situation. Bring all information to the meeting, including the list of assets and liabilities and information about parties that should be included.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

 

Lake Mills Wine Walk


Neuberger, Griggs, Sweet & Schrier is one of the stops along the 2nd Annual Lake Mills Wine Walk. Dr. Jennifer Jeschke of Optimal Physical Therapy will be co-hosting the event along with us. Hopefully you will be joining us for a fun night out in Lake Mills organized by the Lake Mills Main Street Program. We will have samples of a Mosketto Bianco and an Argento Malbec. Appetizer pairings will be provided.