I am so lucky. A number of years ago, a client created a donor advised fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. We structured guidelines for his fund to meet his charitable interests. When he passed, I took over as the advisor. The first year I had to make distributions, I was literally shaking. I so wanted to honor his desires and goals. The next year I really enjoyed it. The third year I was able to create a synergy between two of his goals. This year I am so overwhelmed. There isn't a charity that won't need extra funding, from the ballet to food banks to the free loan society. And of course, the amount of money we all have to give, including the fund with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is diminished. I am afraid we will not see many of the arts organizations survive. But when I make this year's allocations I know it will truly be appreciated by the organizations. If you are one of the lucky ones surviving financially in these crazy times, I would love to help you design a charitable plan. With wishes for the a bright future for all of us, Stephanie
I really am one of the few attorneys in the state (and maybe the country) who has created more than 6 pet trusts for various clients. I now am one of those clients. As you can see on my home page, Graycie has a skin condition and the vet costs have been pretty extensive. I don't want anyone to have to bear the cost of her medical treatment. Thus, she has her own trust. Pet trusts can be for all types of animal and designed in all fashions. I have one in Waukesha County that just terminated which I thought was a magnificent design for my late clients' cats. Ask me about it next time we meet.
Recently I had the experience of creating Wills for a couple who are of the Bah'ai faith. It turned out to be the most interesting combination of religious beliefs and secular law. That is what I love about my practice. Every client is unique and every plan and document matches that uniqueness. There are no forms that I purchased or someone else's computer generated programs in my practice. I create everything for the client's individual needs and wants. Thank goodness I do. There are not many of us left who address things in this fashion.
A few years ago a client of my passed away. He left most of his money to a donor advised fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. We had devised a plan for him prior to his passing and he was kind enough to put me in charge of the fund at his death. What an honor. I now make grants on his behalf to the causes he cared about. A few of those include the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Symphony and UPAF. But there are also other smaller social service groups that are tied to the Milwaukee community. I usually plan out the donations in March and every year I pinch myself that I am so lucky to do this. I urge my clients to check out the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as part of their charitable gifting. They will manage donor advised funds beginning at $25,000.00. Call me if you want more information or call them.
When I began my practice we had a library/conference room that was at least 3 times the size of what was my office. The book cases were floor to ceiling and it cost a lot in time and money to keep it all up to date. Today, I have 3 times the size of that library on my laptop. No need for a library room any more. We also had an enormous file room. We had to have the files accessible in case someone called and needed an immediate answer. At $20 a square foot it cost a small fortune to house them. Today, the files are in off site storage, but I can still access most everything from my own personal cloud and the best part is I can be anywhere. There also had to be someone to be there to answer the phone. No one wanted or trusted voice mail. My how things have changed. I answer my own phone and leaving messages for me if I can't get to the phone is comfortable and routine. Computers have eliminated some staff as well. Court filing are done directly from my computer. I wonder what my grandfather would say if he could see this all. I think he would be amazed that that the physical practice of law has certainly changed. What has not changed is the need for good service and knowledge and expertise in the field of the practitioner.
I love a website with a blog. Now I have a platform to write about all the fun things I get to do as an attorney. So look for more posts and feel free to ask me to write about various topics that are of interest to you.