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Searching for Articles by Melissa S. Kampmann
Melissa S. Kampmann
Chair of Trusts & Estates Practice Group
Wausau Office
Found 4 Results.

Living (Successfully) with T1D

Posted on March 1, 2016, Authored by Melissa S. Kampmann, Filed under Community

Melissa Kampmann has been a Type 1 diabetic for 25 years; Makenna, her almost nine-year-old daughter, for about four years. It’s a misnomer that diabetes is hereditary, in fact it’s incredibly rare for a person that has diabetes to have a diabetic child. There was no family history in Melissa’s family, she was the first to ever be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by the body getting confused into thinking the pancreas is a foreign object thereby investing its energies into attacking it and killing it off. The pancreas is an important organ - it produces insulin, an essential hormone regulating the amount of glucose (or sugar) in a person’s blood. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by any lifestyle factors, it is simply the result of an immune system that has turned against the body. Without a working pancreas, Type 1 diabetics have to control their blood sugars by administering insulin based on countless factors and counting carbohydrates. Both Melissa and Makenna administer their insulin through an insulin pump which is connected to a small plastic tube in their bodies. They both check their blood sugars by pricking their fingers with needles about 10 to 12 times a day and both wear something called a continuous blood glucose monitor in which a small wire is inserted under their skin which measures their blood sugar every five minutes. But no matter how hard a diabetic tries, they can’t perfectly control their blood sugars; mainly because anything can set them off – hormones, sleep, weather, stress, food and illness. Melissa teases there could be a connection to the migrational patterns of monarch butterflies and blood sugar levels. Having too little blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and too much blood sugar (hyperglycemia) wreaks havoc on a body’s system and the swings can have long term deleterious effects. Most people assume that managing diabetes is as simple as eating healthy and taking a shot. Far from it. All Type 1 diabetics deal with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia on a daily basis because of the numerous factors that play a role in blood sugars. A swing in either direction too far can result in seizure, coma and death. This is why Melissa and and her husband Kevin wake up every 2 hours to check blood sugars. But to watch Melissa talk about diabetes, cope, and champion Makenna, her efforts appear effortless. It’s because Melissa and her family are working selflessly to make a positive impact through their involvement in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Melissa states, “we’re involved for three major reasons: the support of a community of other families dealing with diabetes, JDRF’s commitment to educate the public on the disease, and for their research to stop the complications related to the disease, improve treatments, and ultimately find a cure.” According to their Web site, JDRF is the leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Their goal is to, “progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D.” Over 80% of their funds are used for research. In fact $98 million was invested in research in 2014. A good portion of the other 20% is dedicated to advocacy and education. Many people have not heard of JDRF because so little is spent on overhead and advertising. There are only two paid employees that cover the entire state of Wisconsin other than Milwaukee or Madison which is why it is crucial for JDRF to have volunteers. Melissa has witnessed firsthand the impact JDRF has made. Over the last 25 years, the insulin has improved, the monitoring has improved, and the technology to administer insulin has improved drastically. Melissa participated in a clinical trial last year for an artificial pancreas. An artificial pancreas is a combination of current technologies which allows for the administration of insulin based on computer algorithms and without the human mind. Melissa states, “It was freedom from my disease for the first time in 25 years.” JDRF has been a major funder of the technology which should be available in the next year or two. Melissa says, “it will be as revolutionary as the discovery of insulin - I can’t wait for the day when I can disconnect from the disease that controls me 24 hours a day.” Melissa and her family volunteer at the walks for JDRF and “Type 1 Days” (an event for kids with T1D). Melissa is also a JDRF advocate (she meets with elected officials to educate them on the need for funding of research) and is an active fundraiser. Melissa has also been a frequent speaker around the state at JDRF events. Melissa and Kevin host dinners for families who have had family members recently diagnosed with diabetes. She serves as a mentor for other mothers of type 1 diabetics. “No one can understand the life of a type 1 diabetic family unless they have been through it. I am so grateful that I can share my story with other families and give them hope for a great life for their child. Diabetic families lean on each other a lot.” Melissa was recently featured in JDRF’s Annual Report.

It is Now EZier for Charities to File for Tax Exempt Status

Posted on July 2, 2014, Authored by Melissa S. Kampmann, Filed under Tax Deductions

On July 1, 2014, the IRS introduced the new Form 1023-EZ which is a shorter application form to help smaller charities apply for tax exempt status. The standard Form 1023 is a 26 page form that charities must complete in order to obtain tax exempt, or 501(c)(3), status with the IRS. The standard form can be confusing for some individuals to complete without the assistance of an accountant or attorney. The Form 1023-EZ is only three pages long and is much more simple and concise than the standard form. It is estimated that as many as 70 percent of new applicants will qualify to use the new form. In order to qualify as a "small charity" permitted to use Form 1023-EZ, the organization's gross receipts may not exceed $50,000 in the current year, the previous three years, or the next two years. In addition, the organization's total assets may not exceed $250,000. Most organizations that meet these two tests may apply for tax exempt status using Form 1023-EZ. However, before a charity completes the Form 1023-EZ, it must first complete the Form 1023-EZ checklist to ensure that it qualifies to use the consolidated form as there are various criteria that must be met in addition to the financial tests. We view the new Form 1023-EZ as an important step forward for charities. It is estimated there are more than 60,000 Form 1023 applications sitting with the IRS and the new form should help speed up the examination process so that charities can conduct their important work.

Could Religious Leaders Be Taxed on Their Housing?

Posted on May 30, 2014, Authored by Melissa S. Kampmann, Filed under Tax Deductions

On November 22, 2013, the federal district court for the Western District of Wisconsin struck down Internal Revenue Code Section 107(2) which exempts from income tax any compensation that is received by a "minister of the gospel" which is considered a housing allowance. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against the government on the argument that its atheist leaders did not receive the same exclusion as religious leaders and as a result, the code section was unconstitutional. The court agreed and stated that any tax exemption for religious organizations must also benefit similarly situated nonreligious organizations. However, the court stated that it's ruling would only apply after all appeals had run their course. In April of 2014, the government appealed the ruling of the district court. So what does this mean for religious organizations and their leaders? It means we will need to keep a watchful eye on the appeals process as the outcome of this case could drastically affect the way religious organizations operate and the compensation of their leaders. This may be an issue that is actually taken up by the Supreme Court given the consequences to religious leaders. Stay tuned.

Using Prenuptial Agreements to Protect the Family Farm

Posted on January 8, 2018, Authored by Melissa S. Kampmann, Shanna N. Yonke, Filed under Ag-Visor

The family farm is a special asset. The family may have worked hard through decades, maybe even generations, to accumulate and develop the farm’s land, equipment and livestock. The children may be grown and successors to farming operations. The older generation may be worried what would happen to the farm if a child were to divorce or die. The best form of protection is for children to execute prenuptial agreements to protect the farm and income in the event of divorce or death. Wisconsin law classifies most property of spouses as marital property, with the following exceptions: property owned by a spouse as of the marriage date; gifts and inheritances received by a spouse; assets acquired with the proceeds of individual property; appreciation in the value of individual property; and some personal-injury awards. In order for any of the above-listed properties to maintain their individual-property classification, the property cannot be mixed with marital property unless the individual-property component of the mixed property can be traced. That can be an issue because income earned on individual property is marital property and often reinvested into the individual property, resulting in a mixed asset. For example, a farmer gifts a child money that is invested. Interest and dividends are earned on the investments and reinvested into the account. The interest and dividends are marital property. When they are reinvested into the individual-property account, the investment account becomes a mixed asset. It can be difficult to trace the source of assets in that case, making it difficult during a divorce or death to protect the gifted or inherited property. A child and his fiancé may enter into a prenuptial agreement to alleviate those issues. The agreement allows the child and fiancé to create their own rules regarding classification of assets and division of assets in the event of divorce or death. By signing a prenuptial agreement, a child can protect the family farm and ensure preservation of the farm possibly for many more generations to come. There are a few requirements for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable. Both parties must disclose their assets and liabilities, and exchange copies of their most recent tax returns. Both parties must sign the agreement freely and voluntarily, which means each person is represented by his or her own attorney and has adequate time to review the agreement. The division of property upon termination of marriage by divorce or death must be fair and equitable to both parties, considering both current circumstances and those reasonably foreseeable. In the context of family farms, it’s common to classify current and future ownership interests in the farm as individual property, as well as classify any income generated from the farm as individual property to prevent a mixed asset. In the event of divorce, prenuptial agreements involving the family farm usually provide that ownership interest in the farm will not be subject to property division but rather will be allocated to the farming child. There is a chance the child may be required to pay spousal support or maintenance based upon the amount of income generated from the farm. However a prenuptial agreement may also address the waiver of maintenance or a cap on the amount of maintenance. On the other hand the marriage can be terminated by a child’s death but with his spouse surviving. The child may have agreed to transfer his ownership interest in the farm to a trust for the spouse’s benefit over the spouse’s remaining lifetime or until the occurrence of some stated contingency, such as the spouse’s remarriage. Implications of prenuptial agreements need to be carefully considered with legal and tax advisers. The benefit of protecting the family farm should be weighed against any “side effects” of classifying property as the individual property of one spouse. For instance, individual property will not benefit from a basis adjustment upon the death of the non-owning spouse, which may impact the amount of income tax on the disposition of such property between the death of the non-owning spouse and the death of the surviving spouse. In a stable long-term marriage, spouses may choose to amend their prenuptial agreement in order to take advantage of the basis adjustment if there is significant appreciation in the value of property formerly classified as individual property by the agreement — particularly if the spouses anticipate disposing of such property before the death of the surviving spouse. Anyone who is part of a multi-generation farm and is contemplating marriage should consider a prenuptial agreement to protect the family farm.   © 2018 Agri-View.  Madison, WI.  Reprinted with permission.