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Please be advised that contacting Ruder Ware by e-mail does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you contact the firm by e-mail with respect to a matter where the firm does not already represent you, any information which you disclose to us may not be regarded as privileged or confidential.


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Our Practices

Trusts & Estates

For over 80 years, attorneys in the Trusts and Estates practice group at Ruder Ware have counseled individuals, corporate executives, small business owners, dairy farmers, and philanthropists on how to prepare for the future. Whether a client's situation is straightforward or complex, our attorneys are able to implement creative and flexible strategies that fulfill a client's personal and business needs.

We offer comprehensive services in business planning; income, gift, and estate tax planning; and trust and estate administration. If clients seek professional management of their assets and simplification of their lives, we can serve as trustees of their assets, pay their bills, and handle distributions of money. If clients are concerned about protecting their assets, we can design trusts that provide protection from the claims of creditors. If clients desire to provide for future generations, our attorneys are experienced in succession planning and working through family dynamics to achieve broad-based acceptance of a coordinated plan. Simply put, our trusts and estates team is dedicated to helping you protect, manage, and dispose of your assets as you see fit, whether that is during your lifetime, in the event of your incapacity, or upon your death.

Our trusts and estates attorneys are widely respected among their peers. Some have been elected as fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the preeminent estate planning organization for attorneys in the United States. Others have been recognized for their service to the State Bar of Wisconsin in the areas of taxation, elder law, estate planning, and trust administration and have been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers of America and Super Lawyers.

Recent Achievements of the Trusts & Estates practice group include:

  • Completed the transition of a successful family business to the next generation. The transition was carefully planned and implemented over several years to lessen the burden of gift, estate, and income taxes; fully determine the commitment of the succeeding generation; and transfer control in an orderly fashion without a disruption in business. Through counseling and business structure, the senior generation resolved to transfer authority to the next and succeeding generation, thus keeping the business in the family.

  • Implemented an elaborate asset protection plan for a married couple that resulted in all assets being saved except for a couple of months of care. The complex plan resulted in additional savings of more than six months of skilled nursing home care at $6,000 to $7,000 per month.
  • Successfully re-formed a charitable trust allowing the trustee to distribute a percentage of trust assets instead of trust income to the charity. The charity had a difficult time maintaining its operations because of the current economic environment. The trust modification allows the trustee to invest for the highest possible return without regard to whether that return is from income or capital appreciation. This permits a steady flow of money to the charity without jeopardizing the continuation of the trust.

  • Assisted an elderly widow on the completion of a medical assistance eligibility plan. Although the widow had made a series of potentially disqualifying gifts prior to needing nursing home level care, the plan preserved prior gifts and protected more than one-half of the proceeds from the sale of her home. The sale proceeds from the home remained protected in an asset protection trust for the benefit of the family.

The services provided by our Trusts & Estates practice group include:

Founded in 1920, as part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware provides business, tax, employment, municipal, estate planning, real estate, litigation, and trust services through its offices in Wausau and Eau Claire. Ruder Ware, Business Attorneys for Business Success.