Forming a business involves many considerations and consists of multiple applications and legal processes.  This can be stressful for someone who is unfamiliar with this undertaking. That is why prospective business owners choose to hire counsel with experience and knowledge in the area of business formation.
Before you meet with an attorney, ask yourself the following questions:
  • What is my desired business name?
  • Is my chosen business name available? (You may do a “name check” through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Corporate Records.)
  • Who should be appointed as registered agent for the business?
  • What are some likely risks and opportunities related to the business?
  • What is my desired level of formality for the structure of the business?

A discussion with counsel regarding the background and goals with respect to the business helps in determining other issues, such as business structure (e.g., limited liability company, corporation, partnership, etc.) and tax elections to fit your business structure and goals, along with legal documents governing the business.  After your business is formed and other issues arise, counsel can provide ongoing support, including managing risks or liabilities, compliance and tax support.

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



When preparing your estate plan, you usually think about the financial aspects of your estate (e.g. bank accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, real estate, tangible personal property). However, there may be nonfinancial assets you could consider when preparing your estate plan.

Digital Assets

So much of our information is stored online. Your digital assets left behind can become a “Digital Legacy” for you upon your passing. A list of items that can contribute to your “Digital Legacy” includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Social Media Accounts (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Websites
  • Dating Profiles (e.g. Tinder, Bumble, etc.)
Consider this: What would you be comfortable with regarding your digital assets after your passing? Would you want your “Digital Legacy” to be shut down or remain activated? In this instance, it might be important to you to have detailed written directions for how you wish to have your digital assets handled after your passing.

Family Traditions

Your family traditions may include a secret family recipe that only you know (e.g., your delicious, mouthwatering turkey dinner) and that you can’t imagine your family going without. You may want to include your secret family recipe in your estate plan in order to pass on your holiday tradition.

Personal Beliefs

A personal legacy statement may include your beliefs, values and morals that you live by. By including a personal legacy statement in your estate plan, your personal beliefs can continue to reach and inspire your family and friends.

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

Fireside Holiday Chat – Will You Be My Trustee?

Holiday gatherings can be a good time to reflect on many things, although considering the identity of a desired fiduciary for your will or trust-based estate plan may not be on your list of fun holiday activities.

Your fiduciary would have the authority and responsibility to administer your assets and carry out your wishes once you pass away. Your fiduciary is referred to as a “personal representative” under a will instrument and a “trustee” under a trust instrument. Your personal representative or trustee can be anyone you want who is at least eighteen (18) years old. A personal representative or trustee can be your spouse, child, sibling, other family member, close friend or neutral third party.

There are many options you could consider regarding the choice of a personal representative or trustee, so how will you decide who to choose? The decision is ultimately yours, but what follows are a few things to consider before selecting a fiduciary for your estate plan:

  • Is the person someone you trust and/or trustworthy?
  • Is the person ethical?
  • Is the person familiar and comfortable with handling finances?
  • Will the person follow and respect your wishes?
  • Is the person familiar with your family dynamics?
  • Will the person be willing and able to navigate the administration of a trust or estate, including working and dealing with third parties, e.g., financial or legal institutions and entities?

It is prudent to select a fiduciary who is diligent, respectful, ethical, objective and level-headed. Who would you choose as your fiduciary? Holiday season reflection may be as good of an opportunity as any to consider that question.

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

When Your Beneficiaries Could Receive An Inheritance – Which Distribution Method Is Best?

The method in which you choose to distribute a beneficiary’s inheritance upon your passing is an important part of the estate planning process. There are a variety of ways to do this, and you should consider the method that best meets your estate planning goals.

Distributed Outright  After all bills and expenses are paid, assets are divided and distributed to your beneficiary(ies) directly. This distribution method is an option for parents who have financially responsible adult children.

In Trust, Distributed Outright at a Certain Age, at Certain Ages, or Upon a Life Event  The assets that are held in trust for a beneficiary’s lifetime are distributed by a trustee in accordance with the trust’s provisions. Usually the provisions of a children’s trust or beneficiary’s trust provide that when the beneficiary attains a certain age (common age distribution choices are thirty (30) or thirty-five (35)), the trustee will distribute the assets of the trust outright to the beneficiary at the specified age, thus terminating the trust. Trust assets can also be distributed at multiple distribution ages. For example, the provisions of a trust can provide that the beneficiary shall receive one-third (1/3) of the trust assets at the age of twenty-five (25), one-third (1/3) at the age of thirty (30) and the residue of the trust outright at age thirty-five (35). A less common, but still useful option, would be to distribute the assets of a trust outright upon an event, such as graduating from college.

Asset Protection Trust  Another common distribution structure is an asset protection trust that is held and maintained for the lifetime of a beneficiary with no mandatory distributions of principal and income.  An asset protection trust can provide for the beneficiary to become co-trustee or sole trustee of his or her trust upon attaining a certain age. Upon the death of the beneficiary, unless the beneficiary exercises a valid power of appointment, the assets would continue to be held in trust for the benefit of the beneficiary’s issue by representation.  The benefit of this option is that the beneficiary of the trust, if he or she is also acting as the trustee, has control of the trust assets and can protect the trust assets in the event of creditors’ claims or divorce. The right method depends on your unique circumstances and goals. The best strategy to leave assets to your beneficiaries may change over time. To ensure that your estate plan meets your needs, be sure to review your estate plan on a regular basis.

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

Taking Care of the Family Cottage

As Wisconsin residents close up their family cottages for the winter, it may be a good time to consider a structure to conveniently allow your family to continue to enjoy the cottage for future generations.

In some cases, it may make sense to set up a limited liability company or trust to facilitate indirect ownership of the cottage and protect it from certain liabilities.  This would allow a current owner to provide a structure for transfer of cottage ownership, use and management of the cottage and payment of expenses.

Both a limited liability company (“LLC”) and trust can provide the owner some liability protection, but there are some differences between the two structures.  If an owner wants to leave some money or investments for future generations to utilize for cottage expenses, such funds could, in most instances, be protected within a trust.  However, structuring cottage ownership in a trust may provide less flexibility for future generations than an LLC would because a trust becomes irrevocable (and thus harder to modify its terms) upon an owner’s passing.  So, in the event of a dispute over, for example, maintenance and expenses, a trust can be more cumbersome than an LLC regarding settling or bypassing such disputes.

On the other hand, an LLC’s advantage is its flexibility.  LLC’s are governed by operating agreements, which can be modified by current members of the LLC.  Because an LLC is a flexible entity, it can be a particularly helpful vehicle when it comes to handling unforeseen circumstances, facilitating ownership transfers, particularly if a family member does not want to be involved with the cottage, and managing usage of the cottage.

Whichever route an owner may choose, there are certain fundamental considerations for inclusion into the operative language for trusts or LLC’s.  Those include provisions regarding maintenance, cost sharing and budgeting, dispute resolution and creditor protection and tax implications with respect to the cottage.

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