Specializing in Estate Planning, Probate Administration, Guardianship, and Surrogacy
This area generally focuses on documents such as Wills, Powers of Attorney for Health Care, General Durable Powers of Attorney, Revocable Trusts and Marital Property Agreements. Most clients are looking for “basic estate planning,” which, in my practice, includes a Will, a Power of Attorney for Health Care, and a General Durable Power of Attorney. I have developed a short, informative Overview of these documents. To review that document, click here. However, some clients need higher level planning, due to the picture of their personal assets, or how they want those assets distributed after they pass. Those clients may need a Revocable Trust Plan, which is detailed here.
This is the process by which assets of a deceased person are distributed after that person’s death. Sometimes individuals have Wills, but others do not. The statutes of the State of Wisconsin set out a procedure by which assets are distributed if a person dies without a Will. While every Probate is different, most probates that are handled today are accomplished through a court procedure called “Informal Probate.” I have developed an Overview of the Probate Process, which you may review by clicking here.
There are two main types of guardianships: guardianship of an adult, and guardianship of a child. A guardianship of an adult may become necessary when an adult has lost capacity to make his or her own decisions, and someone else needs to become empowered to act. Guardianship of a child may involve an issue where a child's parents cannot or will not act on behalf of that child due to illness, neglect, abandonment, or other reasons. Under those circumstances, someone else needs to become empowered to make decisions on behalf of the child until the parents may become involved again, or until the child reaches the age of eighteen.
Today, families are built in many different ways. Some may be two parent families, some may be single parent households, some may be same-sex parents, or multi-generational households. All are important and meaningful to the children residing in them. For many people, traditional family building is not available, and they may look to surrogacy to help create their families. In Wisconsin, surrogacy is a legally available method to create or expand one's family. But, the process followed is critical-- not all agreements are enforceable, and best practices must be followed in choosing a surrogate and screening all parties. Experience in this area is critical to its success.
Practicing law is a bit like solving puzzles. Sometimes the box of puzzles is missing a few, sometimes the pieces are just jumbled and need a good sorting. A good lawyer will take whatever the client has to give them, will analyze fully all the pieces and put them together to try to accomplish the client's goal.
I also believe that clients should understand the "why" behind the actions we take for them. In my experience, when clients have a greater understanding of their own matters, they are happier and more assured that our methods are sound, and that we are doing everything we can to achieve the best outcome for them.
Overall, our vision is to accomplish the goals of our clients, in the most effective and cost-conscious way, with compassion and a personal touch.
I am a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I grew up in Bay View before attending college in Iowa at a small private college called Coe College. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree, Magna Cum Laude, at Coe with a double major in English and Philosophy, minoring in French. After leaving Coe, I attended Syracuse University College of Law in Syracuse, New York. I graduated from Syracuse in 1997 and subsequently became licensed to practice law in two states: Wisconsin and Georgia. I began practicing law with Snyder & Ek, S.C., a small general practice firm in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin in 1998. I practiced law with Snyder & Ek for more than six years before opening this firm. Since opening this firm, I have built a practice that focuses on Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration, Guardianships, and Surrogacy Law. I have practiced law for more than 20 years, and prioritize direct contact with my clients.
State Bar of Wisconsin, Member
State Bar of Georgia, Member
Waukesha County Bar Association
Association of Women Lawyers
Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, Fellow
New Berlin School Board, Member