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    Scam Affecting Real Estate Owners

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal recently reported on an investigation they conducted into a scam which tries to trick homebuyers into buying useless documents.  The report states that private companies are sending letter to new homebuyers requesting an $83 fee to receive copies of their deed and othe rpublicly available information.  The letters look official, and despite having a fine-print disclaimer, the letters are often mistaken for official government documents.

    However, new homebuyers will receive their original deed from either the Register of Deeds or their title company for free after recording.  Additional copies can be obtained from the Register of Deeds office for a minimal fee.

    For more information on the scam, visite http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/pi/scam-tricks-new-homeowners-into-buying-useless-documents-b99200536z1-245195821.html.

    If you ever have any questions about a real estate transfer, including whether requested fees are legitimate, call our office at 920-743-6505 to make an appointment with one of our real estate attorneys.

     

     


    Wisconsin Law Adopts Modified Uniform Trust Code

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    Earlier this month, the Governor signed 2013 Wisconsin Act 92, which replaces the Wisconsin Trust Code and adopts a modified version of the Uniform Trust Code.  Many of these changes will bring Wisconsin law in conformity with other states.

    The new law has many changes to the trust code.  Some of the more interesting provisions include that pet trusts are now specifically permitted by Wisconsin law.  Additionally, testamentary trusts (created by will), will no longer be subject to court supervision unless specifically ordered on a petition requesting the supervision.  Trusts are also now presumed revocable, instead of irrevocable, if the document is silent on the subject.  Overall, many of the provisions allow flexibility in planning which will benefit clients who wish to have a trust manage their assets.  The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2014.  If you have any questions about creating or managing a trust, please contact our office for more information.

    Source:  Shiller, Mark A., Law on Trusts: Wisconsin Adopts a Modified Version of the Uniform Trust Code, Inside Track, Vol. 5, No. 24 (Dec. 2013)

     


    Creating a Legacy Estate Planning Seminar

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Attorney Richard Hauser is a featured speaker at "Creating a Legacy: Estate Planning Seminar," hosted by the Door County Land Trust.  Attorney Hauser, along with Grace Rossman, certified financial planner at Thrivent Financial, will do an overview presentation and answer questions from the audience. 

    The event is free and also gives participants the opportunity to learn about the Door County Land Trust.  The seminar will be held from 9 to 11 am on Friday, October 25, 2013 at the Vail Hall at Björklunden Lodge, Baileys Harbor.

    To register for the seminar, please visit www.doorcountylandtrust.org

    To make an appointment with Attorney Hauser to discuss your estate plan, contact our office at 920-743-6505.

     


    Remote Texter Could Be Found Liable For Distracted Driving

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    Everyone knows the dangers of texting and driving.  We unfortunately hear on the news too often of accidents caused by inattentive driving.  However, a recent New Jersey Court of Appeals case concluded that a person sending text messages has a duty to not text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has special reason to know, the recipient will view the text while driving. 

    There are no Wisconsin cases that currently address this duty in Wisconsin law, but this area of the law is developing quickly to address current technology needs.  It serves as a good reminder that the dangers of texting are not just while you are driving.  If you are texting someone and you know they are driving, it is possible you could face liability under this precedent. 

    If you have been injured in an accident and would like to meet with an attorney, please call our office at (920) 743-6505 to speak with one of our trial specialists. 


    Wisconsin State Treasury Has Over $400 Million in Unclaimed Property

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Wisconsin law requires that business and other organizations report unclaimed property to the State of Wisconsin.  In 2013, the State has already returned almost $20 million in unclaimed property to the rightful owners.

    Businesses and other organizations are required to report unclaimed money that has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five years.  Once the State has custody of the unclaimed property, the state assumes responsibility for safekeeping of the property.  Examples of unclaimed property can include the contents of safety deposit boxes and uncashed checks.  For more information on business reporting requirements, please contact our office.

    To search your name in the Wisconsin unclaimed property database, visit https://statetreasury.wisconsin.gov/UCPWeb/ucpsearch.aspx. Additionally, it is good practice for the personal representative of an estate to search the name of the decedent to find out if there are any assets includable in the estate. 


    Sturgeon Bay: Bicycle Friendly Community

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    It's not a surprise that many tourists and local residents choose to travel through Door County on bicycle.  Biking provides great exercise and an excellent view of the scenery in our beautiful county.

    Around Sturgeon Bay, we have noticed an increase in bicycle lanes, including on Oregon and Michigan Streets, as well as Egg Harbor Road.  These bicycle lanes provide a safe and clear pathway for bicycles to share the road with cars.  The new bike lanes likely contributed to the recent announcement by the League of American Bicyclists naming the city of Sturgeon Bay as a "Bicycle Friendly Community." 

    However, it's simply not practical for every road to have a bicycle lane, and many motorists may be unsure of the proper way to share the road.  Wisconsin statutes state that in order to pass a bicycle, a motorist must exercise due care, leaving a safe distance no less than three feet when passing the bicyclist.  Presumably, passing at higher speeds would require more distance.  Additionally, bicycles are considered vehicles on the road, and must obey all traffic laws. 

    Door County provides a convenient map for bicyclists with recommended routes at http://www.doorcounty.com/pdf/brochure/BikeMap_updatedFront.pdf.


    Attorneys Jon Pinkert and Amy Sullivan Featured Guest Speakers

    Thursday, June 27, 2013

    Attorneys Jon Pinkert and Amy Sullivan were recently featured as guest speakers for Sturgeon Bay High School's Business & Personal Law Class.  Teacher Michelle Gibson's class is aligned with NWTC, which allows students to receive free college credits for completing the course.  Attorneys Pinkert and Sullivan presented on tort law, employment law, and consumer protection, allowing the students to apply their classroom knowledge with real world examples.

    The presentation was coordinated by the Door Kewaunee Business and Education Partnership.  As a branch of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, the goal of the Partnership is "to ensure that all area students have the skills and behaviors necessary to succeed in the ever-changing global economy, and that every student graduate from high school successfully prepared to enter skilled entry-level employment, technical college or training, or a post-secondary university or college."  Pinkert Law Firm LLP is proud to support this organization's efforts in our community.     

    For more information on the Door Kewaunee Business and Education Partnership, visit http://www.doorcountybusiness.com/business-assistance/dkbep/


    Proposed Legislation Could Impact Landlord-Tenant Laws

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    A proposed bill pending in the Wisconsin Legislature would allow landlords to serve eviction actions by postal mail, fast-track eviction trials, and give landlords more options to deal with personal property left behind by evicted tenants.

     If passed, the bill would allow landlords to presume that personal property left behind by evicted tenants was abandoned and dispose of it immediately.  However, the landlord must have provided notice in its lease that the landlord does not intend to store personal property to take advantage of this change. 

    Additionally, the bill proposes changes to eviction procedures.  The bill would allow landlords to serve eviction summons and complaints by mail rather than personally serving the tenant.  The time limits for the return date and an eviction trial are also proposed to be shortened to streamline the eviction process. 

    The proposed legislation would change numerous other aspects of landlord-tenant laws.  Pinkert Law Firm LLP represents both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial matters, and we will continue to follow all legal developments which may affect our clients. 

    Source: Forward, Joe, Landlord-Tenant Law: Proposed Bill Impacts Eviction Process, Property Rights, Inside Track, Vol. 5, No. 11 (June 2013).