Entries by Benjamin

My recent article in Wisconsin Lawyer magazine

I recently wrote an article about elder law practice for the May issue of Wisconsin Lawyer, the official publication of the State Bar of Wisconsin. I had a lot of fun talking to many other elder law attorneys about this practice area and what makes it so great. It turned out longer than I’d anticipated, but […]

How to think about asset protection

There’s a common misconception about asset protection: Protecting my assets saves me money right away. In fact, it protects the assets immediately but only saves you money in the long run. Here’s what I mean. Remember that asset protection usually means transferring your property to an irrevocable trust and giving up your right to use […]

A Quick Start on Simple Estate Planning: Your will

Your last will and testament is probably what you thought of first when you thought of estate planning. It contains your directions for who gets your property after you die. But it does some other important things as well: It names a personal representative (other states call this person an executor). If you have minor […]

Who is Medicaid for?

“Isn’t Medicaid for poor people?” “If your business is helping people apply for Medicaid, how do you get paid?” I’ve heard these and similar comments a number of times. They are often the first questions after I explain what I do. Most people know that Medicaid is a social safety net program providing health insurance […]

Is estate planning a lot of work?

“It feels like so much work so I’m dragging my feet.” It’s a very common feeling when it comes to getting started on estate planning. On the one hand, a will seems simple enough. You already know who you would want to get your property, so, um, just write that up and let’s be done […]

A Quick Start on Simple Estate Planning: Start with your goals

Estate planning starts with identifying your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Why get an estate plan in the first place? Here are some common goals my clients have for their estate plans: Distribute property at death according to their wishes Make things as simple as possible for their families Avoid probate Name guardians […]

A Quick Start on Simple Estate Planning: Introduction

You need to get your will done. But getting started is hard. Researching lawyers, scheduling consultations, attending consultations, comparing prices, asking the right questions, making big decisions—it’s a lot of work. Too much, I think. “I just want to keep things simple.” I hear that from clients over and over. It’s not just about price. […]

Estate planning—it’s not about the money

Few people inherit anything, very few inherit much, and half the average inheritance is spent immediately. That’s what this study from 2012 says. I ran across the study through this New York Times article, which talks about a middle-aged woman who inherited $1 million. The article includes sensible advice for heirs from financial professionals: pay […]

What is asset protection?

When it comes to nursing homes and Medicaid, you often hear about “asset protection.” It’s a hot topic—who wouldn’t want to protect their assets? But asset protection is complex, and if something goes wrong your finances and your family could be in a lot of trouble. Protecting an asset means giving up control. At its […]

How do I provide for a disabled family member in my estate plan?

If you have a family member who is disabled, you’ll need to take that into account in your estate planning. It’s a common situation, but it’s important to provide for your disabled beneficiaries in a different way. Why do I need to plan differently for disabled family members? There are two main problems with giving […]