Jeff is the Chair of the Estate and Trust Practice Group and focuses on trusts, estates, fiduciary litigation and administration, estate planning, and probate. He is also experienced in commercial litigation, charitable entities, and taxation. His combination of experience in the courtroom handling complex and routine estate and trust administration issues, and drafting a variety of estate plans for his clients gives him a special perspective that truly sets him apart from his peers.
He understands that no one looks forward to planning for their death, but he also knows it is one of the most important things a person can do to ensure that their financial, family, and philanthropic goals in life are met—even after they are gone. Jeff works with individuals of all walks of life who to ensure what they have worked so hard for is passed on to the appropriate beneficiaries.
His clients include personal representatives and trustees; beneficiaries of estates or trusts; banks and trust companies; businesses and individuals needing representation in disputes; everyday people in need of estate planning; and charitable entities looking to achieve tax-exempt status and maintain federal and state compliance.
- Jeff routinely prepares estate plans to meet clients’ needs with bequests and trusts to provide for their loved ones, appoint guardians for their minor children, save thousands or millions of dollars in estate, income, gift and generation-skipping taxes, and appoint appropriate agents to make their financial and health care decisions.
- He has drafted estate plans for individuals with estates ranging from less than $50,000 to more than $20 million, and knows the right questions to ask in order to produce a practical, comprehensive and effective estate plan that meets the client’s needs.
- He has drafted plans including many types of property, including closely held businesses, real estate, retirement plans and life insurance.
- He has represented clients challenging or defending the validity of wills and trusts, challenging or defending the performance of trustees, personal representatives, and persons acting under powers of attorney, and in proceedings to terminate or modify trusts.
- When an estate was confronted with claims of common law marriage and an alleged oral contract by the decedent to pay another person’s debts, Jeff convinced the court to dismiss both claims.
- Jeff resolved the rightful heirs of a deceased person’s estate by commencing a paternity action involving an estate and compelling the alleged heir to submit to a DNA test.
- He obtained a favorable out of court settlement on behalf of a client who challenged the validity of a trust amendment executed shortly before trust maker’s death.
- In a case involving a difficult trust beneficiary, Jeff successfully petitioned the court on behalf of the trustee to terminate the trust, discharge the trustee, and substitute an annuity for the beneficiary.
- Jeff has assisted businesses and individuals in court cases and arbitrations involving contract disputes, breach of agent’s duties, and recovery of property or money.
- He has formed numerous non-profit charitable entities on behalf of clients and has successfully helped the entities obtain tax-exempt charity status.
Articles and Presentations
Jeff is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, teaching estate and trust administration and dispute resolution. He has also taught continuing legal education classes on trust administration and has lectured on topics relating to estate planning and charitable organizations.