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  • WisBar News
    June 06, 2014

    June Wisconsin Lawyer: New Trust Code, Shareholder Disputes, Court Competency, Court Funding, the Hollywood Effect, and More

    June 2014 Wisconsin Lawyer magazineJune 5, 2014 – Wisconsin’s new trust code takes effect on July 1, 2014. Thus, if you are an estate planner or your practice touches the trust code, it’s high time to learn about it. The June Wisconsin Lawyer, available online and in mailboxes soon, has you covered.

    In “Estate Planning Metamorphosis: Wisconsin’s New Trust Code,” attorneys Victor Schultz and Adam Wiensch provide a broad overview of the new Wisconsin Trust Code (WTC) and identify where the new law departs from or is consistent with prior law.

    “The WTC is transformative and makes Wisconsin a better place to administer trusts,” write the authors, attorneys in Milwaukee and Waukesha. “Estate planning attorneys should review and revise their standard trust forms to address the new law.”

    For instance, the WTC eliminates the longstanding requirement that trustees of testamentary trusts file accounts with the probate court, the authors note, and includes tools that add more flexibility in modifying or terminating an irrevocable trust.

    Court Competency Doctrine and Litigating Shareholder Disputes

    In his feature article, Eau Claire attorney Douglas Hoffer dives into “Wisconsin’s Court Competency Doctrine” and the procedural issues that can torpedo a party’s case before it starts. In it, Hoffer explains how lawyers can avoid this jurisdiction pitfall and get to the merits, noting three recent competency cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    And, in “Litigating Shareholder Disputes,” Madison attorneys Stephan Nickels and Matthew Lynch discuss the obstacles that arise in representing shareholders in the break-up of close corporations, often family businesses.

    The authors note the only solution for shareholder strife is to dismantle and liquidate the corporation through statutory judicial dissolution, but legal strategies can reduce risks.

    The article addresses those strategies and outlines remedies to facilitate business divorces among shareholders without destroying the company in the process.

    Future of Court Funding

    In the As I See It column, Director of State Courts John Voelker provides a sobering reminder about the court funding crisis. In “The Three-Legged Stool: What Does the Future Hold for  Wisconsin Court Funding,” Voelker notes that less than a penny of each taxpayer dollar supports the court system, and the three-legged stool on which court funding stands is fracturing. That could lead to big public problems.

    “If Wisconsin is to be a strong state with strong communities, we need public safety, we need a strong economy, and we must protect people in need. Underfunding the court system diminishes our ability to do all these things,” Voelker writes.

    More on Columns

    • In the 101 column, “5 Tips to Love and Live with Your Blog,” Milwaukee lawyer and award-winning blogger Jessica Mederson describes how to maintain enthusiasm for your blog, which translates to reader enthusiasm. Tip 1: Get a blogging buddy.

    • In 10 Questions, attorney Lisa Boero describes her life with prosopagnosia, a neurological condition which prevents her from recognizing faces, including her own. But as you’ll learn, Boero has developed a keen sense for detail: “Lisa Boero: On a Life without a Face, and Turning Deficits into Assets.”

    • In a Solutions column, Milwaukee lawyer Russell Ware explains why confidentiality provisions in mediation settlement agreements should not be an afterthought: “Timing is Everything: Introducing Confidentiality Agreements at a Mediation.”

    • In “Advertising Rules Apply to Lawyers’ Personal Social Media Pages,” attorney Dean Dietrich discusses the use of Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites in relation to the advertising ethics rules. Dietrich is vice chair of the State Bar Professional Ethics Committee, and contributes to the magazine’s Ethics column.

    • Should Trial Lawyers Handle Their Own Appeals?” Good question, and Madison attorney Kimberly Alderman considers it in another Solutions column.

    • Lawyers are a busy bunch. But are they “Addicted to Busy?” In the On Balance column, Paula Davis-Laack says being busy isn’t a bad thing “but being too busy has a price, especially in the legal profession.” Learn ways to reduce your busyness.

    • “If there’s one thing worse than getting sued for malpractice, it’s failing to have coverage when it happens,” says Tom Watson in the Managing Risk column. Watson, a lawyer and vice president at Wisconsin Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Company, explains how to “Protect Yourself and Your Clients” from this unwanted situation.

    • Finally, Madison lawyer Chris Krimmer, in a Final Thought column, describes the Hollywood effect on public perception of lawyers: “The client doesn’t understand that we can’t break into the opposing party’s residence to obtain the ‘smoking gun’ evidence of their case. Nor do we have that surprise witness who bursts through the courtroom door at the last minute to save the day,” Krimmer writes in “I Blame The Good Wife for My Disappointed Clients.”

    June Wisconsin Lawyer

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