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and Gift Tax
Wills, Trusts & Estates
At Young & Maslowski, LLP, we will personally design an estate plan that fulfills your intentions.
Trusts and estates can be complex areas of law. Mistakes can often lead to disastrous results for both you and your family. As a result, it is imperative that you have an experienced lawyer who has extensive and up-to-date knowledge of estate planning laws and practices.
At Young & Maslowski, LLP, we have considerable experience in representing a broad range of clients with their estate planning needs. We will take the time to discuss all of the available estate planning options with you and personally design an estate plan that fulfills your intentions.
Contact us today to discuss.
A Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is a legal document that gives instruction on how you would like
your assets divided, who shall take care of minor children, and who you want put in charge of distributing your assets. If you die without leaving a valid Will, the Courts will make these important decisions for you.
Marital Property Agreements
Under the Wisconsin Marital Property Act, all income earned or received after January 1, 1986, as well as property acquired with such income, is considered marital property. Each spouse is deemed to own an undivided one-half interest in such property, regardless of how such property is titled.
Property acquired by gift or inheritance, on the other hand, is considered to be the individual property of
the titled spouse. Property acquired prior to January 1, 1986, during your marriage is called “deferred marital property” and is treated as individual property during your lifetimes. At death, however, the non-titled spouse has certain elective rights, which may become effective in the event the titled spouse leaves his or her deferred marital property to someone else.
Classifying property as marital property provides an added income tax advantage resulting from the “double” step-up in cost basis for capital gain income tax purposes that marital property receives after the death of the first spouse. At death, assets in a decedent’s estate receive a step-up in cost basis equal to their fair market value as of date of death. With regard to marital property, however, both the decedent’s one-half interest in the property and the one-half interest owned by the surviving spouse receives such a step-up.
The step-up is especially beneficial if the surviving spouse decides to sell all or a portion of the property, since he or she will recognize little or no capital gains tax as a result of such sale. Classifying assets as
marital property is particularly advantageous if you have assets with a low-cost basis.
Estate and Gift Tax Planning
A comprehensive estate plan not only outlines your wishes but also protects your beneficiaries from facing unnecessary estate taxes. After working hard to amass your assets, the last thing you want is to have the government take a significant or even small amount of it unnecessarily through estate taxes.
Transferring wealth from generation to generation can be very complex and confusing. To help ensure that your estate taxes are kept to a minimum, there are numerous tools that can be utilized including Generation-Skipping Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, or Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. Young & Maslowski, LLP, can help to develop a personalized plan for you by taking into account your goals and interests.
Business Succession Planning
Business succession planning is a process of preparing to hand over control of the business to others in
a way that will minimize the disruption and negative impact to the operations and value of the business.
Having a formal, written business succession plan helps to achieve these goals. Business succession planning should be a priority for every business, especially businesses held by a family or families.
A few questions to consider include:
Business succession planning helps to manage these issues by setting up a smooth transition between you and the future managers and owners of your business. There are asset transfer tax strategies that help you minimize taxes upon death. Business succession planning should certainly be considered when establishing one’s overall estate planning, as many of the moving parts overlap.
For many family businesses, it is the “family” that is the primary emphasis of and motivator for succession planning. Whether you’re thinking about the future management of your business, how ownership is going
to be passed down, or the potential impact of taxes on a transfer of ownership, the decisions you make now (or fail to make) will affect your family. A good succession plan ensures that you have the funds you need to retire and that the business you have built continues to thrive in the hands of the next group of managers