eFocus @ Legacy
Author: Laurene M. Brooks, Senior
New Wisconsin Trust Code Brings Wisconsin into the 21st
There is exciting news for Wisconsin! After more than 40 years,
changes are being made to the Wisconsin Trust Code that will make
Wisconsin a more attractive place to conduct trust business.
Effective July 1, 2014, Wisconsin will become the 27th
state to enact its version of the Uniform Trust Code. Trust
beneficiaries, trustees and anyone involved with trusts in
Wisconsin will benefit from the new legislation.
By enacting this new and exhaustive trust law overhaul,
Wisconsin has taken a huge step toward maintaining its reputation
as an attractive venue to live and do business, particularly from
an estate-planning standpoint. With its version of the Uniform
Trust Code, Wisconsin has modernized its laws to better reflect how
trusts work and benefit all those involved with trusts. The new
changes will mean that:
• Those who create trusts are allowed more flexibility in
designing the terms of a trust;
• Trustees will have more flexibility, autonomy and certainty with
respect to trust administration;
• The need for court involvement will be greatly diminished.
The law not only illustrates our state's commitment to keeping
folks in Wisconsin, it goes a long way toward fostering uniformity
among the states, which is good news for our clients who spend
considerable time or live outside Wisconsin.
The enactment of the new law doesn't mean there are problems
with existing trusts or that changes need to be made to estate
plans that include trusts. However, if it has been over three years
since you've reviewed your estate plan, or your estate or personal
situation has changed recently, you may want to take some action in
the near future. Legacy has several Trust Advisors who can help you
determine whether a visit with your attorney is warranted.
On a final note, I'd like to acknowledge the seven years of hard
work by a dedicated committee of Wisconsin trust and estate
lawyers, elder law lawyers, and bank and trust company personnel
who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this new law a
reality. As a nine-year member of the Wisconsin State Bar's Real
Property, Probate and Trust Law (RPPT) Section Board and its
current chair, I witnessed the efforts and patience of the
committee, which included several members of the RPPT Section. We
owe them gratitude for believing in Wisconsin and the work they
performed to bring our trust laws into the 21st century.