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Questions Answered by Thomas B. Burton
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: forms need, as trustee, and beneficiaries of irrevocable trust with less than $100000 in assets desire to terminate

Need forms for Wi irrev. trust with trustee and beneficiary agreement, less than $100000 in assets to terminate trust?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Feb 21, 2020

I recommend you review the trust agreement itself to see if it has a provision about "uneconomical administration" where it lays out a procedure whereby you can terminate the trust. If not, you may need to rely on the provisions of the default Wisconsin Trust Code. In some instances, it is possible... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: I currently have a valid registered land contract for a house with one person.

But found out there’s a lien on the house with someone else. The person with the lien passed away recently. If I end up paying for the house who does the money go to? Or should I keep paying my land contract and he pays of the lien ?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Feb 18, 2020

The lien would follow the estate of the deceased. So whoever owned the property, their Estate will own a beneficial interest in the property, subject to the lien on the property.The Estate of the deceased will likely be bound by the terms of the Land Contract that you signed. You should examine the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: Can a personal rep accept a home offer of a will that is part of 3 kids. He is one of the kids

The offer is 15k under market value

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Feb 12, 2020

Generally, the Personal Representative named in the Will is in charge of managing the property owned by the Estate and distributing it according to the scheme laid out in the Will. This usually includes the power to list and sell real estate, unless the will directs some other plan for the real... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My mom passed away on January 20, 2020. She has no will, or no one named as her executor of her estate. What should I do

My mom has three children. Oldest is an addict, and have warrants in another state. Second child is currently incarcerated. How can I legally become executor of my mothers estate so I can carry out her wishes?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Feb 4, 2020

If your Mom died without a Will, she died what we call "intestate" meaning with no Will, and her estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy written by the Wisconsin Legislature. Since you are a child and an heir of your Mother, you can petition to be appointed as Personal... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: Where can I find an attorney to create a revocable living trust for my wife and I?
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jan 24, 2020

The Justia Lawyer directory is a good place to start. I recommend looking for an attorney who focuses their practice on estate planning to provide you with the best advice possible in this area. You can review different attorney profiles and websites to find one that best fits your needs. In my... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: Do attorneys have to keep your files for a certain amount of time? What if they had something they never gave you?

Our attorney received a title in 2007 directly from another attorney and never gave it to us. He now says he no longer has the file.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jan 15, 2020

Check your written fee agreement with the Attorney to see how long it says they will retain your file. The amount of time they hold your file after a matter is closed varies from firm to firm. Ten years is a standard amount of time to hold a file, after which an attorney may destroy it at their... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: The offer says buyer to pay appraisal fee. Title company made me, the seller, pay it at closing

They called it a "closing cost". I had offered to pay up to a certain amount of closing costs. What now? This is part of the cost of buyer getting a mortgage.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jan 12, 2020

If the terms of the offer says the Buyer is responsible for the appraisal fee, then the Buyer should pay this cost. You should examine the offer to purchase carefully to be sure this is indeed what it says. It is possible the title company made a mistake in charging this amount to you instead of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: My condo is in an irrevocable family trust and I am the trustee. My husband has died and what happens if I remarry?

I will have a name change and nothing in the trust addresses this.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 23, 2019

If the condo is titled in the name of the irrevocable trust, then the terms of the irrevocable trust itself will determine what happens to the condo. If it is properly set up the title to the irrevocable trust should now hold the condo. If you are the trustee of the trust, you are responsible for... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: I recently purchased a plot of land. It was listed with electric / sewer and lateral into lot.

Our builder just verified with the village that there is no sewer available and we will need a septic, Can I sue the seller to cover the cost of a perk test and septic system?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 12, 2019

Check the Vacant Land Disclosure Report provided to you by the Seller and see if they listed sewer and septic available in the Seller's Vacant Land Disclosure Report. It should be listed on page 5, under item F(6) of the new Vacant Land Disclosure Report that went into use last year. If they listed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: Estate/Probate question. See below

My brother passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. He was in the process of completing a will but did not

complete it. He has two (2) estranged children. I does have assets (condominium/car). He made it known that he wanted me to handle all of his affairs in the event of his death and... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 9, 2019

I am sorry to hear about your brother's passing. Unfortunately, if he did not complete and sign the Will before two disinterested witnesses, it will not be valid in the State of Wisconsin. Based on the facts above, it sounds likely he died "intestate" meaning his assets will pass according to his... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: My husband has passed away, and both our names are on the mortgage. What do I have to do next?
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 4, 2019

You should speak with an attorney who can examine the deed and help you file a form with the Register of Deeds that will remove your husband's name from the title, if the title was held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, or as husband and wife as survivorship marital property. If you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Contracts, Consumer Law and Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: Home purchase: Can another person/name be added to title at closing?

Buying house, he is on the loan and I am not. The bank just said I cannot be put on the title because we are not married? Is this law or policy? Thank you!

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 4, 2019

If two parties are not legally married, I do not recommend jointly owning property with someone who is also not liable for the mortgage on the property. Once you are married, your husband can add you to the title, if he wishes via deed. In Wisconsin we have a special form of ownership where married... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: The landowner beside of us is having their pines timbered and the workers cut about half an acre of our pines and has

The company timbering the line trees has cut about half an acre of our pine trees (roughly 150 pines) even though the trees and boundaries were clearly marked. After speaking with the owner and setting up a day to discuss this, he knowingly sent his workers back on our property to collect all the... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 1, 2019

Hello, I am sorry to hear this happened to you. You posted in the Real Estate Law forum for Wisconsin. It is possible that you live in Wisconsin, however if this property damage occurred in Carrol County, Virginia, you are going to need to find a lawyer licensed in Virginia to help you. I suggest... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Municipal Law for Wisconsin on
Q: What would total be on property tax bill w/interest for 8 yrs. on 11hundred a yr not paid (1% mo 12% yr) Vernon Cty, WI

If I hadn't been able to pay my property taxes for 8 yrs (and assuming they haven't foreclosed), at $1,100 a yr, what would the total bill be at the end of 8 years, with interest at 1% a month and 12% a year, in Vernon County WI.?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 25, 2019

It will depend on exactly how they calculate the interest, if it is compounded monthly or annually, this will make a difference in the total owed. I would contact the Treasurer's office in Vernon County and ask them for a copy of the tax statements on the back taxes owed. They should be able to get... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: My Brother and I inherited my parent's cottage in Northern Wisconsin via an irrevocable trust.

Is it really necessary to hire a real estate attorney to title the property in our name or can we just contact the clerk and have it done on our own? The title is clean and the property has been in the family for 43 years.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 22, 2019

The clerk's office will not be able to assist you with transferring the property. They can give general information, but not legal advice, so they will likely direct you to a lawyer. The terms of the irrevocable trust will determine what steps need to be taken to transfer the property from the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: If my father said in his will I am to be paid first payment of a trust before 12/31/19 of the year of his death?

Is the above upheld regardless of when probate ends?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 18, 2019

If the trust was created by the Will, such as a testamentary trust created inside his Will, then the trust may not come into effect until the probate has finished. It depends on the wording of the Will. If the Trust was created on its own, outside the Will, then the Trust should not have to go... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Wisconsin on
Q: Can power of attorney list themselves as beneficiary on life insurance policy? Is the law different depending on state?

The life insurance policy currently has no beneficiaries listed

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 12, 2019

If the power of attorney document authorizes the Agent to make changes to beneficiary designations, and if it does not prohibit the Agent from listing themselves as a beneficiary, then it is likely they can list themselves as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy. The context is important here... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: When the seller rejects an amendment, what happens?

What right does the seller still have? Recently we rejected an amendment, buyer is now threatening court, closing, or cash to end this problem. I would like to know what we can do legally.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Oct 22, 2019

In general, a Seller has no legal obligation to accept an amendment the Buyer may offer, after the terms of the Offer to Purchase have been agreed to. The Seller's obligation is only the terms of the original Offer to Purchase signed by both parties. The Buyer may have other legal remedies based on... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Wisconsin on
Q: I am disabled per Social Security, own a home with my mother - tenants in common, and we want to sell it.

She has been in nursing home since April, on medicaid since May,

and plan to move back to CA after the house is sold. Will this cause any problems with medicaid?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Oct 14, 2019

If your Mother is currently receiving Medicaid benefits, you should examine the Medicaid application she submitted when she first qualified for Medicaid. The application should list the home in which she owns an interest as a tenant in common. If you and your Mother own it together and if your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: Can an estate be divided by children and living spouse through probate if there was no will?

My mother passed away and my father is mentally disabled (he does not have a guardian, us kids have been taking care of him). The only asset she had was the house. The house is in both of their names. I am wondering if it is possible to for the estate to be divided up by us three kids and my father... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Sep 27, 2019

I agree with Attorney Whitehurst you should first examine how title is held on the deed. If it is held as husband and wife as marital property, then your Father would inherit the home entirely without probate upon your Mother's death. If your Mother passed away without a Will, her estate will be... Read more »

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