Frequently Asked Questions




Below are some of the most frequently asked questions. Click on desired panel for a description of that area. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (414) 453-8500.



Preserving the Family Cottage.


Do it now to avoid ruining future holiday gatherings.


Wisconsin is a state that has many family cottages and/or family owned hunting lands.  While these are great family gathering places and often hold fond memories for all family members, they can be a source of family discontent and discord if provisions are not made to deal with these properties when an owner passes away.  This is especially the case when the property has been in the family for decades and the value of the property has increased over those years.


Typically, such a property might already have been inherited from a prior generation.  At some point the current owner(s) may want to transfer the property to the next generation.  Such a situation requires an analysis of how the transfer can be made, to whom it should be made, and who would be able to pay for the continued upkeep and expenses associated with the property.


Failure to deal with any of these points, or additional issues (e.g., whether restrictions should be placed on future transfers of the property or on the rental of or access by non-family members to the property) can cause family disagreements that will ruin any future holiday gatherings.


We have worked with families in these situations.  We have developed procedures to deal with these problems and have had families successfully navigate the issues which are present when dealing with these properties.  Practical considerations, such as those referenced above, as well as tax consequences need to be fully and clearly explained to all who participate -- and this includes the spouses of those to whom the transfer will be made.

If you have questions in this area, or are contemplating such a transfer, feel free to call us to discuss your particular desires.


How Important is a Home Inspection When You are Buying or Selling a Home?


The purchase of a home is often the biggest investment an individual will make. It is crucial to make certain that what you are paying is equal to the value of the home. To determine this it is not enough to just look at the home by yourself. Many problems with a home are not readily observable, and many items that appear to be a problem might not be a problem at all. That is why it is advisable to get a professional home inspector to have the home properly inspected (including all of its components).


For a buyer, providing for a home inspection in an offer to purchase is important. By doing this, you, as the buyer, can receive certain assurances that the home is worth the price you are offering or at least in a condition that supports the price you are offering. IF the inspection discovers major defect in the property, you may be able to rescind the offer to purchase, or, if still interested in the property, you may have the flexibility of negotiation on the offer with the seller allowing the seller to correct the problems with the home, or reduce the purchase price so that you can afford the repairs.


A good home inspection can also determine the expected life of components such as a roof or furnace. This will assist you in planning for the necessity of future repairs so that you can establish a schedule to maintain the condition of the house.


As the buyer, it is important for you to understand the role of home inspectors, the options you have once an inspection is completed, and the importance of having these inspections performed within the time periods required in the offer to purchase.


Sellers of homes can also benefit from having home inspections completed prior to the listing of the home for sale. Such an inspection can permit a homeowner to correct items that might concern a prospective buyer or lead to the cancellation of an offer to purchase which is received.


We have attorneys experienced in both the purchase and sale of residential real estate. We are happy to discuss these transactions with you and to assist you in the review and the preparation of the necessary documents to initiate and conclude your sale or purchase. If you have questions in this area, please fell free to call Terry Klippel or Robert Storm to discuss them.

Ask Your Local Legal Professional About Nursing Home Placement.


Q: It looks like my dad will have to go into a nursing home. My mother cannot take care of him any longer at our home. Do I need to see an attorney to plan for this?


A: When one spouse goes into a nursing home, there are often many questions as to what can happen to the other spouse who still is living in the home or community. The questions that arise often concern financial affairs.


It is important to discuss these matters with an experienced attorney. There are many "rumors" and "myths" that exist regarding what can be done and whether a spouse in the community can or should give all of his or her assets away, etc. These actions can have dire consequences.


With proper guidance and planning, fears can be eliminated. The truth of these situations are often less frightening than the unwarranted concerns. Necessary planning does not end when placement at a nursing home is completed. For example, often, estate plans can be modified so that assets of the spouse who is not in the nursing home can be transferred to other heirs when that spouse predeceases the spouse residing in the nursing home.


Our firm has had over 20 years of experience in providing counsel to individuals in these circumstances. If you have questions in this area, feel free to call Tom Balgeman or Terry Klippel, or any of the other attorneys in our firm to discuss those concerns.

Ask Your Local Legal Professional About Durable Power Of Attorney.


Q: My parents are elderly and I am worried that they may not be able to handle their finances in the near future. What should I do?


A: As people age, as well as through certain stages of life when disabilities may occur, it is important that all individuals plan for those times when they cannot handle their personal affairs. This becomes increasingly important with the elderly.


Oftentimes, older individuals go in and out of situations that prevent them from taking care of their own personal affairs. Prolonged hospital stays, other health concerns that do not necessarily require hospitalization, and the onset of dementia can all lead to a situation where someone cannot handle their own affairs.


An important planning tool to assist in this regard is durable power of attorney. Wisconsin recognizes a durable power of attorney which permits an individual to designate someone to act on his or her behalf. The durable power of attorney to which I am referring is one that generally would handle financial affairs and the personal affairs of the individual signing the document. There is also a power of attorney form for health care. Most of us have encountered a health care power of attorney form when we have had any contact with a hospital procedure which requires us to stay in the hospital for a period of time. Most health care providers present patients with a health care power of attorney for their review.


Attorneys can be of great assistance to explain these documents and explain an agents' rights and power when acting as power of attorney. Oftentimes, individual circumstances may require specific language to be included in the power of attorney form to cover a given specific scenario that the individual might face.


With respect to elderly individuals, dementia, strokes, and even Alzheimer's can lead to a situation that requires actions to be taken to preserve property or to provide for the care of an individual. These situations can arise quickly so it is important to plan early and have power of attorney forms in-place well in advance of the day they are needed.


If you have further questions on this, feel free to call Robert Storm or one of the attorneys at our firm to discuss your concerns.





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Storm, Balgeman & Klippel, S.C.  

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.
You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.