Attorney Paul Van Berkel Joins Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Firm News | Law Blog | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Attorney Paul Van Berkel Joins Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd)

Nine years ago, we were lucky enough to triple the size of our Law Firm with the arrival of Attorneys Andrew and Sara Micheletti.  With that growth, we have been able to continue to serve our clients with high quality and responsive legal counsel and become versed in more areas of practice. We are now proud to announce that we are growing again with the addition of Attorney Paul Van Berkel.

Attorney Van Berkel has been practicing in Kaukauna, Wisconsin for the majority of his legal career serving his clients in an array of practice areas.  He is a fantastic writer, avid golfer and excellent advocate. We are excited to offer his skills and expertise to you.  Read more about Paul here: Paul’s Bio

Please join us in welcoming Attorney Van Berkel to Sitzmann Law Firm.  We look forward to continuing to provide you with superior legal service and hope to see you soon.

NEW LAW – Employee Nonsolicitation Agreements

April 25th, 2018 | Posted by Christopher Sitzmann in Business Law | Employment Law | Law Blog - (Comments Off on NEW LAW – Employee Nonsolicitation Agreements)

Attention Employers!

Do you have Agreements with your Employees that prohibit them from soliciting other Employees from your business after they leave?  Oftentimes this Agreement is part of a Non-Compete Agreement.

A 2018 Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision makes it more difficult for Employers to enforce these Nonsolicitation Agreements.  The provisions in the Agreements should be specifically drafted for each Employee depending on their position, level of influence over other Employees, and the competitive threat the Employee poses to the Company.

In this case, John Lanning, a 25-year employee, resigned from his job and went to work for a competing business.  He ended up soliciting 9 other employees to follow him to the competitor.  Because the Nonsolicitation clause in his employment agreement was too broad, he was allowed to do this and his former employer had no recourse.

A Nonsolicitation Agreement must serve a legitimate and competitive interest.  Prohibitions on solicitation of ALL Employees are likely unenforceable and will cause the entire Agreement to be unenforceable.

All Employment Agreements that contain nonsolicitation Clauses should be reviewed and revised.

 

Andrew Micheletti and Sara Micheletti Promoted to Shareholders

January 10th, 2017 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Firm News | Law Blog - (Comments Off on Andrew Micheletti and Sara Micheletti Promoted to Shareholders)

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

            Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd. is pleased to announce that Attorney Andrew Micheletti and Attorney Sara Micheletti are shareholders of Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd. effective January 1, 2017.

Andrew and Sara joined Sitzmann Law Firm as associates in October, 2009 and both have flourished professionally and are actively engaged in the community.

Andrew assists businesses with startup, employment issues, mergers and acquisitions, business, commercial and personal litigation, contract disputes, real estate and foreclosures.  Andrew is the current President of the Downtown Appleton YMCA Service Club, a member of the Downtown Appleton Rotary Board, a member of the University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley Foundation Board and a former board member of the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve.

Sara practices in estate planning and estate settlement including probate and non probate transfers, guardianships, real estate and elder litigation.  She also assists businesses with succession planning, collection issues and evictions. Sara has been involved in a number of non-profit boards and is currently the Board President of The Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley Region and a board member of Rebuilding Together Fox Valley.

Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd was founded in 1994 by Christopher G. Sitzmann and has diligently counseled and advised individuals and businesses with mergers and acquisitions, commercial and personal litigation, contract disputes, real estate, employment, foreclosures, estate planning and probate.  Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd. is conveniently located downtown Appleton at 231 W. Franklin St.  We are online at www.sitzmannlaw.com and available at 920-733-3963 to assist you with your legal needs.

Pay your bill online!

November 28th, 2016 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Law Blog - (Comments Off on Pay your bill online!)

You can now pay your bill online!

You may pay any outstanding balance, or make deposits into your trust account with a credit or debit card!  Please click the link above.

Attorney Micheletti makes Headlines

February 20th, 2015 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Guardianship | Law Blog | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Attorney Micheletti makes Headlines)

IN THE NEWS HERE: http://post.cr/1EuZ2OR

Attorney Sara Micheletti represented and advocated for the best interests of an incompetent ward at a sentencing hearing on February 19, 2015.

Todd Laseke, the ward’s father and guardian wrongly withdrew, over $500,000 from his adult son’s guardianship account over a 4 year period.  Attorney Micheletti was appointed in November, 2011.  She discovered the theft and had the guardian removed.  The ward’s father was later charged with Theft  over $10,000, a class G Felony.  He was found guilty after a no contest plea.

Attorney Micheletti appeared as Guardian ad Litem for the victim.  She argued that Todd Laseke should be punished stealing from his son and the sentence should send a message to the community that theft from vulnerable adults will not be tolerated.  Judge Des Jardins rejected the joint recommendation from the State and Laseke’s attorney of 4-5 years probation and instead sentenced him to 5 years prison and 5 years of extended supervision.  He will be required to pay restitution to his son of approximately $367,000.

 

 

 

Litigation in Will/Estate Matters

June 20th, 2014 | Posted by Andrew Micheletti in Estate Planning | Law Blog | LItigation - (Comments Off on Litigation in Will/Estate Matters)

The passing of a loved one is a traumatic experience in and of itself.  Often times this pain is exacerbated when it comes time to distribute the assets of the decedent’s estate.  Disputes may arise regarding the language of the Will or even possibly the distribution of benefits that are meant to be payable-on-death.  In some instances, the beneficiaries can work together to reach some sort of compromise.  Other times, however, it is only through litigation that these disputes reach a resolution.

Wills can be challenged for a variety of different reasons.  They can be challenged on the grounds that they were not properly executed, that the testator was incompetent at the time they executed their Will, and they can be challenged on the grounds that the testator was unduly influenced into changing their estate plan amongst other things.  Likewise, the naming of a beneficiary by the decedent to receive benefits that are considered payable-on-death, and therefore not subject to a Will/probate, can be challenged for various reasons including actual or constructive fraud, duress, abuse of a confidential relationship, mistake, commission of a wrong or some form of unconscionable conduct.

Whether or not to proceed through litigation in these types of matters is a decision that must be made with careful consideration.  Not only is the value of the estate and or benefits at issue, but so too are the potential costs of litigation and, as these instances often involve family, the potential impact the litigation may have on your family.

An attorney can explain the process of these types of litigation to you and evaluate your claims to help you determine the validity of your case and the likelihood of success.  It is important to have an attorney who is experienced in these types of litigation represent you as the claims can often involve several different areas of law.

If you have questions regarding these matters, please call Sitzmann Law Firm Ltd.

andrew@sitzmannlaw.com

TOP TEN REASONS TO CREATE AN ESTATE PLAN

May 14th, 2014 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Estate Planning | Law Blog - (Comments Off on TOP TEN REASONS TO CREATE AN ESTATE PLAN)

An Estate Plan is about more than just your Will and planning for what happens after your death. A good Estate Plan will also include planning for what happens if you become incapacitated. You should also consider including a Power of Attorney for Health Care, Advance Directive, Power of Attorney for Finances, Transfer of Death Deed for any real estate and possibly a trust in your Estate Plan. My reasons to create an Estate Plan include considerations for these additional documents.

  1. Keep the Family Peace. After your death, family members fighting over money can be an explosive, nasty legal battle. Memorializing your wishes minimizes the family discord so there is no room for disagreement about what you wanted and what happens after you’re gone.

 

  1. Protect Your Loved Ones from making hard medical choices. Spare your loved ones from difficult situations, during your life and after your death. Make your wishes for your end of life care known! With proper planning, you can make difficult medical decisions now, and spare your loved ones the pain (and possible disagreement) of making those decisions later.

 

  1. Loss of capacity. Planning ahead lets YOU decide who will manage your heath care and financial decisions if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs.   If you don’t plan for this possibility, you could end up going through an expensive judicial process to appoint a guardian.

 

  1. Minor children. If you are leaving assets to minor children, you should not leave those assets outright to the minor children. A proper estate plan will also allow you to choose who will care for your children if you die, and who will take care of the money you leave them.  Children with special needs require specialized planning to avoid losing necessary benefits.

 

  1. Smooth, inexpensive transition.Think of all the things you would need to sign to transfer bank accounts, property and real estate out of your name. After death, you cannot sign for yourself, so the court appoints a Personal Representative to essentially sign for you, a process referred to as PROBATE.  If you plan ahead, there are more efficient ways to transfer your assets. Probate is a manageable process, but it is usually time consuming, public, and can be costly.

 

  1. Peace of mind. Your children will stop pestering you to get this done and you will have security and satisfaction of knowing your affairs are in order.

 

  1. Control over the process. Having your estate planning in place and current is the only way you control who will handle decisions upon your incapacity, your estate after your death, and who will inherit from you. If you do not carefully plan, you are opening the door to disputes and the possibility of Court intervention.

 

  1. Choosing your heirsYou have worked hard to build your assets; you should decide how they are distributed after your death.

 

  1. Save money. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Investing your time and money now is far less expensive than waiting until it is too late.  Sitzmann Law Firm offers predictable, flat fee estate planning.

 

  1. Inventory your assets. When you plan your estate, it forces you to think about how to maximize the value of everything you own. Making a list of your assets will make it far easier for your loved ones to transfer your assets after you death. Keep your inventory and a list of your online passwords in a safe place and tell someone where it is!

 

Call your attorney to begin the estate planning process!

 

Written by Attorney Sara Micheletti, sara@sitzmannlaw.com

I am a Guardian – NOW WHAT!?

April 5th, 2013 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Guardianship | Law Blog - (Comments Off on I am a Guardian – NOW WHAT!?)

As Guardian ad Litem in Chapter 54 guardianships, part of my duties is to talk with the proposed guardian.  I discover that many times, the guardians do not understand what it means to be a guardian.  I hope that this article will help clarify a guardian’s required duties:

1.  What now? I always recommend new guardians watch THIS VIDEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBjNnEY8dyg) for an explanation of your duties as guardian, bought to you by the Vernon County and Wisconsin State Bar Associations.  15 minutes well spent.

2.  Separate Bank Account – You, as guardian, should not put your ward’s money into your own bank accounts.  You should open a separate “guardianship” account as soon as possible after you are appointed so your money remains separate from your ward’s money.  Also, if the ward is married, you should also try to separate your ward’s money from their spouse so you can accurately keep track of how your ward’s money is spent.  This is true even if you are guardian for BOTH husband and wife.

3.  Visits – You are required to visit your ward regularly, I recommend at least quarterly.

4.  Documents to File with the Court:

  • Inventory – due within 60 days of your appointment.  A snapshot of your ward’s assets on the day you were appointed
  • Report on the Condition of the Ward – due annually
  • Accounting – due annually.  Reporting to the Court on how much income and expenses were incurred on your ward’s behalf each year. Also includes a current inventory of your ward’s assets

5. Using the Ward’s Money.  Generally, you are not allowed to use the wards money for Gifting, Travel reimbursements or to purchase any single item over $500.  If you do want to use the wards money for these types of expenses – ASK THE COURT FIRST

  •  Gift– Generally, guardians cannot use the ward’s money to buy gifts for the ward to give to others.  Example:  you are the guardian of your mother; your mother gave fifty dollars to each grandchild during Christmas every year before you were appointed as her guardian.  You are no longer allowed to give this gift.  You must petition the court by writing a simple letter or filling out a court-provided form requesting the ability to gift.   You should discuss your mom’s pattern of gift giving in your letter.
  •  Travel Reimbursement – You cannot pay yourself for going to visit your ward.  As with gifting, you must ask the Court first.
  • Big ticket purchases over $500.00 – guardians should always request permission from the court to buy any single item that costs $500 or more.  Again, usually a simple letter will suffice.

6.  Selling Real Estate – Before your sell any real estate owned by the ward, you must first ask the Court for permission to do so.  The Court will usually require any sale, even it the sale is to a family member, to be for Fair Market Value.

The most important thing to remember is if you have questions, contact an attorney!

 

 

 

Beware: Corporate Records Service

February 20th, 2013 | Posted by Sara Micheletti in Business Law | Law Blog - (Comments Off on Beware: Corporate Records Service)

A business called “Corporate Records Service” has been mailing a form to all Wisconsin Businesses requesting information about your business and $125 so they can maintain your business records.

This form was NOT issued by the State and is NOT required to maintain your business status.  The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions issued a cautionary press release regarding this form (see here).  We urge you to take caution with this form.  We recommend that you do not complete this form, or pay Corporate Records Service any money.

As DFI suggests, if you do choose to fill out the form and pay Corporate Records Service, please make sure you will be getting some type of service in return.

Please contact Sitzmann Law Firm if you have any questions or concerns about this form.

I have lots of clients coming into my office with a foreclosure complaint in hand, asking “WHAT NOW”???  Here, I have listed some of the most common homeowner options upon default.  This is NOT an exhaustive list and you should seek the advice of a lawyer regarding your specific situation.

The Homeowner’s options depend upon a number of factors, including:

–          where the homeowner is in the foreclosure/default process

–          Which bank is your lender

–          Goals of bank or homeowner

 

The following options are not mutually exclusive.  Homeowners can pursue several options at the same time.  Being served with the foreclosure complaint is not the end of the line.

1.  Loan Modification

  • Homeowner can and should contact bank BEFORE foreclosure proceedings are initiated to apply for a modification
  • Good option if homeowner wants to KEEP their home.
  • Can change monthly payment amount, length of loan
  • Forbearance

2.   Short Sale

  •  House sold for less than the amount owed on the note
  • Can be sought at any point while homeowner is still the homeowner, however:
    • not every Bank will accept short sale.
    • If the bank will accept a sale, but still wants money from Homeowner after sale, that is NOT a short sale
  • Homeowner can apply for a short sale in advance of offer (however, final decision will not be made until offer is accepted)
  •  Usually short sale attempts are required before a bank will accept a deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

3.  Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

  •  Homeowner deeds house to bank, in exchange the bank will not foreclose and release Homeowner from liability for deficiency judgment
  • Lender may want Personal Financial Statement, tax returns and appraisal

 4.  Foreclosure

  • Can take up to 2 years
  • Sale or refinance can occur anytime up to the “confirmation of sale”
  • Over-simplied foreclosure timeline:
    • Default
    • Foreclosure Complaint
    • Answer (must be filed within 20 days after service!!)
    • Mediation
    • Foreclosure Judgment
    • Redemption period
      • ranges from 3 months – 1 year depending on the facts of your case
      • able to pay off the bank during this period
      • Continue to try for another result – modification, short sale
      • If homeowner successfully redeems property during redemption period, foreclosure is over
    • Sheriff’s sale
    • Confirmation Hearing/ Deficiency Judgment – Homeowner can continue to negotiate up to this point!

 

Please ask a lawyer for help if you have defaulted or are facing foreclosure!