What Is A Revocable Living Trust?

by Attorney Curtis A. Edwards, J.D.

A Revocable Living Trust, also known as an Inter Vivos Trust, is a type of trust that is created during a person’s lifetime and, as the name implies, can be revoked or amended by the grantor at any time during his/her lifetime.

Revocable Living Trusts are frequently used by estate planning attorneys as the cornerstone of trust-based estate plans, and for good reason. The primary purpose of a Revocable Living Trust in an estate plan is probate avoidance. Probate is the notoriously long, expensive, and public court supervised process used to settle an estate. Having all of your assets in a trust allows you to avoid the probate process, allowing your estate to be administered privately by a trustee.

In addition to their ability to provide probate avoidance, Revocable Living Trusts also provide individuals with a great deal of flexibility and control over the terms of the trust after it has been established. The revocable and amendable nature of a Revocable Living Trust allow grantors to make changes as needed to account for circumstances and issues that could never have been foreseen or never contemplated when the trust was originally established.

For example, a trust originally created twenty-five years ago might direct that certain assets be distributed to an entity or person, such as a charity or family member, with whom the grantor no longer has a relationship. A Revocable Living Trust allows the grantor to update or amend the language of the trust to ensure that the asset distributions and other provisions in the trust accurately reflect their current intentions and wishes.

Another advantageous feature of a Revocable Living Trust is that it allows the grantor to avoid court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship proceedings should they ever become incapacitated. A Revocable Living Trust often contains language that allows a named individual to become the acting Trustee and manage the property held in the trust if the grantor becomes incapacitated as defined by the terms of the trust. These provisions account for scenarios such as a grantor who is placed in a coma as a result of an automobile accident, or a grantor who later in life develops dementia and can no longer manage his/her affairs.

Another important thing to note about Revocable Living Trusts is that once the original grantor dies, the trust becomes Irrevocable. This means that the terms of the trust can no longer be changed and, thus, sets in stone the final wishes articulated in the trust by the grantor before the time of their passing or incapacitation.

As you can see, a Revocable Living Trust has a myriad of benefits, paramount being their ability to avoid probate, that make them an excellent foundation for most estate plans. However, a Revocable Living Trust may not always be the best choice depending on your individual needs and circumstances. For this reason, it is important that you consult with an attorney to find out if a Revocable Living Trust is right for you.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about this topic, please contact Lin Law LLC at (920) 393-1190.

What Is A Trust?

By Attorney Curtis Edwards, J.D.

A trust is a written agreement formed by the grantor(s) and a trustee(s) that creates a separate entity (trust) to hold assets such as real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., subject to an obligation to keep or use those assets for the beneficiaries named in the trust. The obligation to carry out the specific terms of the trust are the duty of the trustee(s) named by the grantor(s) of the trust.

Trusts come in many different forms such as a revocable living trust, irrevocable trust, testamentary trust, marital trust, or insurance trust, just to name a few. Each type of trust serves a different purpose, but most commonly trusts are used as a vehicle to avoid probate, to preserve and transfer wealth responsibly, and legacy planning.

Trusts often provide a seamless way to transfer wealth from one generation to the next and allow the grantor(s) of the trust to put controls in place regarding how assets will be used and distributed, both during and after their lifetime.

For example, a grandparent (grantor) might create a trust for their grandchildren (beneficiaries) during their lifetime, specifically for the purpose of funding the college education of the grandchildren. The trust would layout specific instructions (provisions) for how those funds should be distributed, such as the maximum allowable distribution to each grandchild, whether the funds can be used for tuition or other things like room and board, and whether or not the grandchild must use their benefit by a certain age.

In some cases, such as with a revocable living trust, the grantor will also be the initial trustee charged with carrying out the terms of the trust. However, after the original grantor/trustee passes away or is no longer able to serve, a successor trustee will take over and continue those duties. The original or successor trustee can also be a trusted friend or family member, or it can be an institution, such as a bank. In either case, the trustee will ensure that the trust assets are maintained and distributed per the terms of the trust established by the original grantor(s).

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about this topic, please contact Lin Law LLC at (920) 393-1190.


Lin Law LLC’s 10th Anniversary

10 years of serving the legal needs of local businesses, families and individuals. 

As we celebrate our 10 years of service to the community, we wish to share with you our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for all the support we have received over the years. We are incredibly thankful for and humbled by the knowledge that the foundation of our existence has been largely built on our personal relationships we have developed with our clients, as well as the community’s estate planning, business and financial professionals. Most of all, we are grateful for the continued opportunity that we are provided each day to serve our dedicated clients, whether we have worked alongside them for just a short time, through the course of the last 10 years, or into the future. Thank you for your never-ending trust, warmth, friendship and support. We could not have done it without you and we look forward to serving you for many more years to come!!

With sincerest gratitude,

Lin Law LLC

Lin Law LLC’s Annual Christmas Party

Every December, Lin Law LLC celebrates the holidays with it’s employees and their families, a tradition that started almost ten years ago and has become something we all look forward to with each coming year. As we approach Christmas and the New Year, we at Lin Law LLC want to wish you all a joyful and blessed holiday. 

Evan Y. Lin Named to the 2022 Wisconsin Super Lawyers List

Evan Y. Lin Named to the 2022 Wisconsin Super Lawyers List

Evan Y. Lin, an attorney and managing member of Lin Law LLC, has been named to the 2022 Wisconsin Super Lawyers list in Estate Planning and Probate by the publishers of Super Lawyers® Magazine.  Each year, only 5% of attorneys in Wisconsin are named to Super Lawyers.  Evan was previously named to the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Wisconsin Super Lawyer lists and was also previously named five times to the Wisconsin Rising Star list in Estate Planning and Probate by the same publication.


Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. 


It’s that time of year when many high school graduates are preparing to leave home, whether it be to attend college or join the workforce.  While families prepare for this change in their child’s lives, many parents forget that they no longer possess the legal authority to make health care and financial decisions on behalf of their child once he or she turns 18.  Without the proper advanced planning documents in place, parents would need to obtain a court order to exercise this authority on behalf of their adult child, even if the child becomes incapacitated.  For this reason, we recommend that all parents encourage their children to implement a Durable Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney for Health Care, and HIPAA Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information upon attaining age 18.  In doing so, it may be helpful to more fully understand what these documents do.

Durable Powers of Attorney: Authorizes the designated attorney-in-fact to act on behalf of the adult child with respect to most financial matters.  This could include managing bank accounts, paying bills, signing tax returns, applying for government benefits, applying for a lease, forwarding mail, etc.  Durable Powers of Attorney can be either immediate or “springing”.  To activate a springing Durable Power of Attorney, the adult child must be deemed incapacitated by two different physicians (or pursuant to recent legislation, one physician and one psychologist, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner).

Power of Attorney for Health Care: Authorizes the designated health care agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the adult child if he or she is incapacitated.  Like a springing (as opposed to immediate) Durable Power of Attorney, a Power of Attorney for Health Care must be activated upon the adult child’s incapacitation.

HIPAA Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information: Authorizes an adult child’s health care providers to release information to and discuss the child’s medical care with the designated individuals.  Without this authorization, health care providers are legally prohibited from discussing the adult child’s care with third-parties, even if those third-parties are the child’s parents.  The HIPAA Authorizations is also effective even if the adult child’s Power of Attorney for Health Care has not yet been activated.

Most of the time, a parent will never need to utilize these documents (at least they hope not to) on behalf of their child.  However, it is better to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

If you should have questions regarding these issues, please contact Lin Law LLC at (920) 393-1190.


SECURE Act 2.0 – Will it affect your Retirement Plan?

On March 29, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (the “SECURE Act 2.0”).  If this retirement savings legislation is passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Biden, SECURE Act 2.0 could represent an economic policy shift regarding retirement savings and investment.

SECURE Act 2.0 expands on the original SECURE Act and includes provisions to raise the required minimum distribution (RMD) age from 72 to 75 over time, broaden automatic enrollment in retirement plans and enhance 403(b) plans.

The original SECURE Act was passed into law by former President Trump in December of 2019.  The original SECURE Act modified the existing retirement savings plan system regarding RMD, contributions to traditional IRAs, 529 plan uses for student loans, and making annuities easier for 401(k) plan administrators to offer.  SECURE Act 2.0 expands on all of the foregoing provisions, including increasing the RMD age to 73 in 2022, to 74 in 2029, and to 75 in 2032.

SECURE Act 2.0 requires 401(k) and 403(b) plans to automatically enroll participants when they become eligible, though employees can opt out of this coverage.  The automatic enrollment amount starts at a minimum 3% of salary and can reach up to 10% of salary, followed by a 1% increase each year until it reaches the maximum 10% threshold.  There are exceptions to these SECURE Act 2.0 requirements regarding small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, new business (those less than 3 years old), church plans and governmental plans.

SECURE Act 2.0 also includes a proposal to increase catch-up contributions for eligible workers.  Currently, those aged 50 and older contributing to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan are allowed to contribute $6,500 in addition to their standard maximum contribution of $20,500.  Under SECURE Act 2.0, up to $10,000 in catch-up contributions may be allowed for workers aged 62-64.  This could possibly raise the maximum 401(k) contribution to over $30,000.  Workers contributing to an IRA would not receive a similar benefit from this proposed boost in catch-up contributions.  However, the current IRA catch-up provision of $1,000 per year upon reaching age 50 would be indexed for inflation.

Currently, if employers match employee contributions in plans like a 401(k), those contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, to be taxable when a worker withdraws them in retirement.  SECURE Act 2.0 allows employees to choose to receive after-tax Roth matching contributions instead.  These contributions would not be excluded from a worker’s taxable income.

There’s Still Time for 2021 Individual Retirement Account Contributions

The last chance to contribute to a 2021 traditional or Roth individual retirement account (“IRA”) is April 18, 2022, which is also the tax-filing deadline for most Americans. 

With that tax deadline approaching, contributing to a traditional IRA may be a good way to trim your tax bill.  For a 2021 deduction, you can contribute up to $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older, provided you’ve earned that much from a job.  These IRA contribution limits are per taxpayer, not per IRA account.  Any IRA contribution would need to be designated for 2021 to the financial institution if your intent is to make a 2021 contribution.

These contribution limits apply to all IRA accounts for an individual taxpayer.  This means that a single taxpayer could split up to $6,000 between their Roth IRA and traditional IRA.  A married couple could invest up to $12,000 in their combined accounts.

While it’s easy to see the appeal of a lower tax bill, the federal tax rate for many Americans is at the lower end of historical ranges. The current rates, enacted by former President Trump’s tax overhaul, are scheduled to sunset after 2025, which could trigger higher tax rates for many Americans in 2026 and beyond.  It’s possible that post-tax IRA contributions may also be worth exploring due to these historically low federal tax rates.