Having a solid, well-thought-out estate plan is essential to achieving your ultimate goals and to saving your heirs time and money. Don’t put off thinking about your last financial and health care arrangements. It is important for adults to have an updated estate plan throughout the various stages of their lives. Whether you are married or single, with young children, older children or no children at all, working or retired, an estate plan can provide peace of mind during important changes throughout your life.
Our estate planning services include:
• Planning for incapacity. If you were to become incapacitated, you would not be able to manage your affairs. Expensive and emotional fights over your care can be avoided by using revocable living trusts and financial powers drafted by our team.
• Providing for your medical care with health care directives and living wills. Through proper estate planning, you can appoint a loved one to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
• Avoiding probate. Many clients want to avoid the pitfalls of the Wisconsin probate system. Through proper planning and the use of revocable living trusts, we help clients avoid this time-consuming, expensive, and stressful process.
• Providing for loved ones, including minor children. By using trusts, we can protect inheritances from misuse and poor decision-making for a child of any age.
• Planning for death taxes. Estate planning allows you to minimize the effect of federal estate taxes and income tax.
Plain and simple, trusts are tools we use to ensure your estate plan is tailored for you. Like a hammer or a saw that aids a carpenter, these tool assist in some instances and are the wrong tool to use in other circumstances. A trust can reduce estate taxes, protect assets from the creditors, ensure proper investment and management of assets, and reduce income taxes.
Examples of trusts we have created include:
• Special Needs Trusts. These are often used by an individual receiving government benefits.
• Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. These ensure that insurance proceeds are removed from your taxable estate and are held and invested for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
• Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts or GRATs. These trusts allow you to pass assets to beneficiaries at a reduced tax rate.
• Revocable Living Trusts. These allow you to avoid guardianships and the problems that exist with a power of attorney or jointly titling assets.
• Charitable Trusts. These allow you to give to charities and receive income tax deductions.
Probate and Trust Administration
When a relative, friend or loved one passes away, there are often legal issues that need to be addressed quickly and efficiently. Our attorney can assist you through this complicated process. A trust is a great way to avoid the probate process, saving time and money. When a trust is created a trustee is named and is responsible for trust administration. The trustee also oversees the distribution of trust assets according to the wishes of its creator. We regularly work with trustees as they administer the terms of various types of trusts. By working with us, you can save your family time and expense, not to mention minimizing stress.
Probate and Trust Litigation
During most probate and trust litigation, you have a short period of time to contest a will or trust. It is important to retain a probate litigation attorney as soon as possible so that your claim is not barred.
Probate and trust litigation can include issue like:
• Contested wills;
• Contested trusts;
• Guardianship disputes;
• Conservatorship dispute;
• Contested pre-death transfers;
• Disputes over inheritance amounts;
• Execution of estate planning documents with fraud, duress, or mistakes; and
• Marital property classification issues. As trial lawyers, we will advise you on the best course of action, regardless of the size or complexity of the probate matter.
Residential Real Estate
Real estate transactions are complicated. It is important to seek expert legal guidance to help ensure that you are making an informed decision. We are here to guide you through the process and give you the legal advice you need to make informed decisions. We are available to answer any questions that may arise during the course of a sale or purchase.
Our services include:
• reviewing and outlining the real estate transaction process;
• reviewing any listing or agency agreements;
• drafting and reviewing real estate condition reports;
• drafting and reviewing residential offers to purchase and counter-offers;
• assisting buyers and sellers through the property inspection and financing contingencies;
• working with title insurance companies and reviewing title insurance commitments;
• checking the settlement statement figures prior to closing; and
• advice at closing.
Commercial and Farm Real Estate
Real Estate Sales and Purchases Commercial and farm real estate transactions require skilled, results-orientated legal counsel. Those transactions also require legal counsel that is delivered on a timely basis. We do that for you: we are there for you from the initial purchase agreement, during the due diligence process, and through to the ultimate closing. We represent companies and farms of all sizes in a range of transactions.
Some examples of recent transactions include:
• borrowing and lending issues;
• construction contracts;
• fencing issues;
• and zoning matters.
Real Estate Development We assist land developers who need experienced legal advice tailored to their specific needs, a timeline, and a fee structure that works for them. Whether it is assembling land under options, drafting complicated easement agreements, helping clients understand TIF financing, or pursuing needed zoning changes, we work hard to help our clients turn their development plans into a reality.
Commercial and Farm Leasing Commercial and farm leasing can also be very complicated. We have negotiated and drafted commercial and farm leases, lease amendments, renewals and terminations for our clients. We effectively represent both tenants and landlords in a wide range commercial and farm real estate matters, providing practical and effective advice to our clients.
Condominium Developments We answer questions regarding the potential plan and draft and file necessary condominium documents. We support clients with condominium conversions and the establishment of condominium associations to enforce property regulations. We also assist existing condominium associations with everyday issues after the condominiums are up-and-running.
Cabins and Vacation Real Estate A cabin or vacation home is a place to escape and relax, and succession planning is crucial to maintaining these feelings of tranquility. This type of planning establishes ground rules to provide for keeping the vacation home in the family for generations to come, while preserving family harmony. A vacation home plan draws on legal concepts from estate planning, real estate, and business law.
The properly drafted plan will have an agreement that can cover topics including:
• who can own a share of the vacation home;
• who pays to maintain it;
• what happens if they don’t maintain it;
• who gets to use it and when;
• how to make decisions regarding the property; and
• how to respond when an owner wants to get out of the arrangement for any reason. Each vacation home plan can be customized, and may include any subject that is likely to be the source of conflict among family members of the current and succeeding generations of owners.
Residential Leasing Understanding the state codes and applicable local ordinances which make up landlord-tenant law can seem like an impossible task. Disputes involving residential leases can be complex and attempting to handle a situation without knowledgeable legal advice from an experienced attorney can be costly.
We help by assisting you in:
• reviewing and drafting leases and rental applications for the residential setting;
• cases involving breach of lease;
• rent payment disputes;
• property damage issues;
• security deposit issues; and
• evictions. If you are having difficulties with your landlord or tenant, contact us.
Commercial Leasing A commercial lease tends to last longer and is more difficult to get out of than a residential lease. Commercial leases also tend to have less consumer protection and more terms to be negotiated between the parties. It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney before you sign a lease for your business. An attorney experienced in commercial real estate transactions can help you understand the lease provisions and help you negotiate terms that would best suit your business needs.
We have negotiated and drafted:
• commercial leases;
• lease amendments;
• renewals; and
Business Formation & Planning
Setting up and running a business is exciting, but can also be complicated. We are well-suited to respond to the needs of businesses of all types and sizes – from single member limited liability companies to large corporations. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we can assist with business formation from start to finish.
We help solve legal issues faced by businesses of any type, including those formed as:
• Corporations (both S- and C-corporations);
• limited liability companies;
• nonprofit corporations; and
• cooperatives In addition to helping you form your new business, we can help with:
• corporate governance;
• business litigation;
• tax planning;
• business transactions; and
• business succession planning.
Business Contracts and Advice
Contracts are the lifeblood of any business, and we have experience drafting and reviewing contracts for business of all sizes.
We can help you with many of the contracts that are vital to your business such as:
• employment contracts;
• independent contractor agreements;
• buy-sell agreements between owners or the company;
• distribution contracts;
• severance agreements;
• executive compensation agreements;
• agreements to buy or sell your business to third parties; and
• insurance contracts.
Business Succession Planning
Often times, a business is one’s most valuable asset. Therefore, business succession planning should be a priority. And as a firm of entrepreneurs, we bring a unique perspective to this area of law. Sooner or later, everyone wants to retire. But if you own a family business, retirement isn’t just a matter of deciding not to go into the office anymore. Besides ensuring that you have enough money to retire, the question of what happens to the business becomes paramount.
We have experience with:
• Helping you determine who will manage the business when you no longer work it;
• Transfer of ownership;
• The decision whether to sell or carry on the business;
• The impact of death on the ownership of your business. Business succession planning seeks to address these issues, setting up a smooth transition between you and the future owners of your business.
Collections law is a specialty practice area for Shannon Law Office. We assist businesses, community banks, and credit unions with collection matters on a daily basis. We provide our creditor clients with timely, personal, top-notch services at a reasonable rate. We are very familiar with local judges, court rules, and procedures related to collection matters, as well as navigating the impact of bankruptcy filings on the collection process.
We regularly assist our creditor clients with the following matters:
• debt collections;
• small claims court collections;
• replevin, repossession, and enforcement of security interests;
• foreclosures (commercial, farm, and residential);
• appointment of receiverships;
• enforcing judgments and Liens;
• bankruptcy collections; and,
• Uniform Commercial Code liens and enforcement.
We are familiar with the defenses debtors normally use to contend foreclosures and other collection actions. Our knowledge of these defenses allows us to assist our creditor clients with the navigating hostile waters.
Personal Injury & Accidents
If you are injured, we can advise you of your legal rights and assist you with your legal claims. As a victim, you are entitled under the law to seek fair and just compensation in the form of money damages if the injuries you incur are due to the negligence of another. This is true whether the injury is caused by the negligence of another driver, the negligence of a medical professional, or the negligence of a building owner. When we work on your case, we utilize the best private investigators, the finest outside forensic professionals, and certified medical consultants. We do this because it is our goal to maximize your recovery, by bringing together the finest team available. Taking care of you is our number one concern.
The web of state and federal employment regulations is making it increasingly difficult for employers to protect themselves from lawsuits and fines. By working with us, you can focus on what you do best—running your business.
We regularly assist our employer clients with the following issues:
• hiring new employees;
• determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor;
• drafting employee and independent contractor agreements;
• drafting non-compete agreements;
• drafting employee handbooks and policies;
• enforcing trade secret and confidentiality mandates against former employees;
• the employee termination process, including severance agreements;
• avoiding discrimination and harassment lawsuits;
• providing advice regarding COBRA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability and social security benefits, and Workers’ Compensation claims;
• avoiding retaliation claims; and
• litigating employment law matters when necessary.
We regularly assist employees with employment matters. We have the experience to help with the following issues:
• unpaid wages, including overtime;
• violations of federal and state regulations like the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability and social security statutes, and Workers’ Compensation statutes;
• wrongful termination;
• fair pay law violations;
• negotiating severance packages;
• defending against trade secret and confidentiality lawsuits;
• litigating claims against your current or former employer.
Personal Tax Preparation Services
Individual Income Tax Preparation
With tax laws changing every year, it is becoming more difficult and stressful to prepare and file your own tax returns. We are here to assist you and can prepare and file your taxes electronically:
• state and federal individual income tax returns; and
• “fiduciary” (estate) income tax returns and final income tax returns for a decedent.
Tax Issue Assistance & Advice
As an experienced estate planning and business attorney, we also provide legal assistance to clients who are concerned about:
• gift taxes;
• estate taxes; and
• business tax issues your business may face in the future.
We approach litigation by being ready to work and prepared to win. We’ve appeared in front of both federal and state courts, as well as various administrative courts and arbitration tribunals.
• Family law cases;
• Employment cases, including disputes over non-competition agreements;
• Business disputes, including contract cases and fights between business co-owners;
• Personal injury cases;
• Construction disputes;
• Disputes over insurance coverage; and
• Disputes over real estate.
Divorce & Legal Separation
We know that getting divorced is difficult and painful, so we work to make you feel comfortable and knowledgeable about your legal options during this trying time.
We have experience negotiating and litigating issues like:
• Child custody, placement, and visitation rights;
• The amount of child support;
• The amount of spousal maintenance; and
• The division of marital property.