Attorney Thomas B. Burton is an attorney licensed to practice law by both the Supreme Court of Wisconsin and the Supreme Court of Minnesota and the owner and operator of the Law Office of Thomas B. Burton. The Law Office of Thomas B. Burton provides estate planning, real estate, and business law services to residents all across the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. I offer affordable and predictable flat fee estate planning packages and business law services. For more information on the firm please visit our website at http://www.theburtonlawoffice.com
- Estate Planning
- Business Law
- Real Estate Law
- Credit Cards Accepted
I accept credit cards through Paypal. I accept payments from your checking account to mine, with no fees, via Google Pay.
- Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
I offer hourly rates and flat fee options for many estate planning and business law matters. Please see my website for more details on flat fees. 2019: My current hourly rate for Medicaid planning is $300/hour. My hourly rate for all other matters is $250/hour. Please contact me via email for my most current hourly rates.
- U.S. Tax Court
- English: Spoken, Written
- Law Office of Thomas B. Burton
- - Current
- Provide estate planning, business law and real estate services to clients of the firm.
- Associate Attorney
- David F. Grams & Associates
- Provide estate planning, business law, and real estate services to clients of the firm.
- Law Office of Thomas B. Burton
- Provide estate planning, real estate, and business law services to clients of the firm.
- Research Law Clerk, Trusts & Estates Department
- Briggs and Morgan P.A.
- Support partners by researching and writing legal memoranda on a variety of topics related to estate planning, charitable giving and trust administration. Draft pleadings and various estate planning documents.
- Summer Law Clerk
- Herrick & Hart S.C.
- Provide legal research and writing support to partners and associates at the firm. Research and write legal memoranda, draft pleadings, and support assigning attorneys with projects related to civil litigation, criminal law, family law, estate planning, and business law.
- University of Wisconsin Law School
- J.D. (2010) | Law
- Honors: cum laude
- Activities: Business and Tax Law Association, UW Real Estate Club, Phi Alpha Delta, Federalist Society
- University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
- B.B.A. (2008) | Business Economics
- Honors: magna cum laude
- Activities: Omicron Delta Epsilon Economics Honor Society, UWEC Student Senate, Financial Management Association
- University of Wisconsin Alumni Association Chippewa Valley Chapter
- Board Member
- - Current
- Chippewa Valley After Hours Rotary
- - Current
- Chippewa County Bar Association
- - Current
- Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley
- - Current
- State Bar of Wisconsin # 1072795
- - Current
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains how "Flow Through" taxation works for an LLC that elects to be taxed as a partnership and discusses why flow through taxation can avoid the...How Can A Trust Own Property in Multiple States?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses how a Revocable Living Trust can hold title to property in different states, helping you to avoid multiple probates in multiple states and also discusses...Why Should I Include "LLC" on My Signs and Business Cards for My LLC?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses the benefits of limited liability protection afforded by an LLC but also explains why you should always include the letters "LLC" on your signs, letterhead,...What Do I Do if My Backup Trustee Dies Before Me?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses the situation where someone named as a backup trustee in a Revocable Living Trust dies before the person who made the Trust (the Grantor) dies.Special Rule for Married LLC Members in Wisconsin
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains a special IRS rule for multi-member LLCs in Wisconsin where the only members are a married couple.When Does A Revocable Living Trust Become Irrevocable?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses how you can amend or change a Revocable Living Trust and also explains the point at which the Trust can no longer be changed and...Why You Should Consider a Standalone HIPAA Release
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains how a standalone HIPAA release can be very useful as part of your comprehensive estate plan.How Many Trustees Can I Name for My Revocable Living Trust?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses how many trustees you can name as Trustee of your Revocable Living Trust and discusses some of the pros and cons of naming multiple trustees...The $250/500K Home Sale Tax Exclusion for Your Principal Residence
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses one of the most valuable tax deductions available to homeowners when they sell their home and discusses how the recent changes to the tax code...Top 3 Reasons to Form an LLC for Your New Small Business
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses the top 3 reasons why a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be a great choice for your new small business venture.What is The Minimum Amount of Assets Needed to Form a Trust in Wisconsin?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the question about what minimum amount of assets are needed in order to form a Revocable Living Trust in Wisconsin and discusses some of the...How Do I Start a Sole Proprietorship in Wisconsin?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains the steps necessary to start a sole proprietorship in Wisconsin and gives some practical advice on getting your sole proprietorship business off to a great...Top 3 Reasons for Avoiding Probate
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses the Top 3 Reasons you should consider avoiding probate for your estate and discusses why many people choose to avoid probate in order to make...Top 3 Reasons for Avoiding Probate
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses the Top 3 Reasons you should consider avoiding probate for your estate and discusses why many people choose to avoid probate in order to make...If I Have Life Insurance Do I Still Need an Estate Plan?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses how life insurance works as part of your estate planning and discusses why a comprehensive estate plan fills in gaps that life insurance does not...3 Plans for your Estate--No Plan, Will Plan, & Trust Plan
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains the three basic levels of planning for your estate, which he calls (1) No Plan, (2) Will Plan, and (3) Trust Plan. Attorney Burton explains...What Assets Should I Put Into My Revocable Living Trust?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses which assets you should put into your Revocable Living Trust and which assets should be left outside the trust for tax reasons or other practical...How Do I Fund My Revocable Living Trust?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains how what funding your Revocable Living Trust means and why it is important to place assets into the Trust during your life, if you want...Why You Might Want to Keep a WI Revocable Living Trust Formed Before August 2014
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses why you should consider keeping a Revocable Living Trust that was formed before August 1, 2014 for Medicaid planning purposes in the state...What Are the Duties of a Trustee of a Revocable Living Trust
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses some of the powers and duties of a Trustee of a Revocable Living Trust and their role in administering the trust.What is the Best Way to Leave the Family Cabin To the Next Generation
Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses estate planning techniques for leaving the family cabin or cottage to your children or heirs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Attorney Burton discusses some common strategies...Should I Use a Will or a Trust for My Estate Plan?
Wisconsin Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question that many people pose to their lawyer when forming their estate plan: Should they use a will or a trust in...What's the Difference Between a Revocable Trust and an Irrevocable Trust?
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains the difference between a Revocable Living Trust and an Irrevocable Trust and talks about some of the situations where each type of trust is appropriate...When Should You Consider a Testamentary Trust
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains the uses of a testamentary trust, especially for parents of minor children and how useful a testamentary trust can be as part of your comprehensive...Own Property in Multiple States? Consider a Trust
Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains how a Revocable Living Trust can be a useful tool when you own property in two states, such as a home in Minnesota and a...
- Q. I am disabled per Social Security, own a home with my mother - tenants in common, and we want to sell it.
- A: If your Mother is currently receiving Medicaid benefits, you should examine the Medicaid application she submitted when she first qualified for Medicaid. The application should list the home in which she owns an interest as a tenant in common. If you and your Mother own it together and if your names are the only names listed on the deed, then it appears you each own an undivided one-half interest in the home. However, if the deed lists some other ownership allocation between you, such as 1/3 your and 2/3 your Mother etc. then this would be the corresponding ownership interests of each owner. Your mother could likely qualify for Medicaid while owning the home, but if you sell it while she is on Medicaid benefits, she will be entitled to her portion of the proceeds from the home sale. If your Mother is unmarried, and she is receiving Medicaid benefits, she is only entitled to keep less than $2,000 in liquid assets (cash and bank accounts) in any given month. Therefore if her portion of the home is more than this amount, it would make her ineligible for Medicaid in that month. You should consult with a qualified estate planning and medicaid planning attorney who can examine all of the facts here and help you come up with a plan before you sell the house. You may be able to fund a special needs trust, like a WisPACT trust for your mother in the month the home is sold, which allows her to remain eligible for Medicaid. Additionally, there may be other options to spend the money for you Mother's care that keeps her eligible for Medicaid. I would explore all of your options before you sell the home.
- Q. Can an estate be divided by children and living spouse through probate if there was no will?
- A: I agree with Attorney Whitehurst you should first examine how title is held on the deed. If it is held as husband and wife as marital property, then your Father would inherit the home entirely without probate upon your Mother's death. If your Mother passed away without a Will, her estate will be divided according to the laws of intestate succession. If her only children are the children she had with your father, then the estate would go first to your Father, and then to the children. Here is a helpful article that lays out several common scenarios to show you what happens https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-wisconsin.html You can also reference the statutes themselves here https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/852/01/1 If your father is mentally disabled, maybe you need to consider a guardianship action in order to have someone to manage the funds on his behalf. I would consult with a local probate attorney about your best options in this situation.
- Q. Am I obligated to purchase a property if it fails sewer and well inspection even if they agree to fix it?
- A: This will depend on how the wording of the contract (the Offer to Purchase) was put together. If you said that the purchase is contingent on a sewer and water inspection, this is good. It now depends on if you wrote in that you have the right to rescind the contract if the inspection shows problems, or if you gave the Seller what we call a "right to cure", in other words a right to fix the problems. Again, this will all depend on the wording of the contract that you signed with the Seller. I recommend you review this contract with the Attorney who drafted it, and ask them your questions. If you did not use an attorney to draft the contract, then I recommend you find one to review it for you who can explain how it will be applied in this case. Best of luck to you!
- Q. I own a house in Oconto County, WI. I want to add my fiance to the deed. He has bad credit. Ramifications?
- A: I agree with Attorney Gallo, if you add your fiance to the deed of your property, then you are granting him an ownership interest in the property. This means if your fiance has creditors seeking to collect against him, they could potentially seek recovery against your property by placing a lien on the property. I would be very hesitant to do this unless and until you are legally married. I recommend you consult with an experienced attorney before proceeding further.
- Q. My father owns land in Puerto Rico penulas. He has the deed I believe and wants to pass the land to myself and child.
- A: Is your father currently living in Wisconsin or in Puerto Rico? If he is living in Wisconsin, he can execute a Will that leaves the land to you at death. However, upon his death, this will require you to open two probates, one in Wisconsin for his Wisconsin property and a probate action in Puerto Rico in order to transfer title to the property to you and your child. If your Father lives in Wisconsin, a better option might be to execute a Revocable Living Trust, and have your father sign the deed transferring title to the land to the Trustee of the trust right now. Then when he passes, the title to the property would pass outside of probate (without needing to open a probate action in Puerto Rico) to whoever your father designates in his Trust. One advantage to passing property at death, is that you get new basis for capital gains tax purposes upon the death of the person who passes the property. If your Father currently resides in Puerto Rico, then he will need to execute a Puerto Rico Will stating what he wishes to happen to his property. I was in Puerto Rico in April attending a real estate investment conference and I talked to some local lawyers there and I am told there Trust code is not well developed. Therefore, a second option he might want to consider is forming a Trust formed in the mainland of the U.S., he can choose a state that makes sense to him, and then form a trust under the jurisdiction of the laws of that state (I recommend choosing a state without an inheritance tax, like Wisconsin), and then transfer title to the property to the trust while he is alive. This would also avoid the need for a probate in Puerto Rico on this property when he passes. However, any of these options will likely need the assistance of a Puerto Rico lawyer and Notary to prepare the deed to transfer the property to the trust. Puerto Rico follows the Spanish system regarding deeds, therefore it is a bit different than the laws of most of the mainland U.S. If you decide to go the Trust route, a good U.S. based lawyer can probably assist you with finding help in Puerto Rico to get the deed transfer accomplished to the Trust.
- Q. Is it a law in WI to sell others property without a real estate license and what can be the outcome if caught?
- A: Wis. Stat. 452.17 provides the penalties for selling real estate without a license and reads as follows: 452.17 Penalties. (1) Any person who engages in or follows the business or occupation of, or advertises or holds himself or herself out as or acts temporarily or otherwise as a broker or salesperson in this state without a license under this chapter shall be prosecuted by the district attorney in the county where the violation occurs or by the attorney general and may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both. (3) Any person who otherwise violates any provision of this chapter may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months or both. Chapter 452 of the Wisconsin statutes contains the rules regarding real estate practice in the State of Wisconsin. Wis. Stat. 452.03 provides the definition of a broker or salesperson under Wisconsin statutes. 452.03 Brokers and salespersons licensed. (1) Except as provided in s. 452.137, no person may engage in or follow the business or occupation of, or advertise or hold himself or herself out as, or act temporarily or otherwise as a broker or salesperson without a license issued under this chapter. The board may grant a license only to a person who is competent to transact that business or occupation in a manner that safeguards the interests of the public, and only after satisfactory proof of the person's competence has been presented to the board. (2) No license under this chapter is required for an individual who, on behalf of and under the direction of a firm or one or more licensees associated with a firm, provides the firm or licensee with services that are limited to those that are purely administrative, clerical, or personal in nature. Note that the above statutes do not prohibit someone from selling their own real estate as a For Sale by Owner property, they do however prevent someone without a real estate license from engaging in the business of acting as a broker or salesperson for others without a license. If you have further questions regarding the laws surrounding real estate practice, I suggest you consult with a real estate attorney in your area who can answer your specific questions.
- Q. Can you separate ownership of house and land with deed and title documents? Is there another process?
- A: In Wisconsin, any permanent structure on the land is included with the deed to the ground beneath it. The only exceptions I know of are mobile homes, where a separate title may be issued for the mobile home by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. It depends on whether the mobile home is still mobile, or was permanently attached to the ground, or in the words of the statutes whether the owner intended "to make the manufactured home a fixture to land in which the owner of the manufactured home has an ownership or leasehold interest subject to ch. 706" whether or not the mobile home will be included with the deed to the property. But in general, all permanent dwellings, are attached and included with the deed to the land beneath them. If this question is regarding a mobile home the Department of Safety and Professional Services has a useful page with information regarding titling here https://dsps.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/MH/Default.aspx
- Q. Can a WI Realtor force a seller to purchase title ins for new owner? Why can’t new owner purchase their own title ins?
- A: The standard Wisconsin Offer to Purchase imposes the costs of title insurance on the Seller. So I can tell you this is standard practice in Wisconsin. Realtors are not lawyers, so they are not allowed to draft legal contracts. Instead, they have obtained an exception from the Legislature allowing them to use these standard forms without running afoul of the unauthorized practice of law rules. What this means is that if your realtor uses the Standard Offer to Purchase form the costs of title insurance will be imposed on the Seller, unless you as the Seller specifically negotiate to impose this cost on the Buyer instead. These provisions in the Standard Offer to Purchase can be negotiated, but they are often not negotiated since many Sellers just accept paying for the costs and because it is the prevailing practice in a majority of real estate transactions in Wisconsin. I am sorry this was not explained clearly to you by the Realtor. If the Realtor was hired by you it seems reasonable that they should have gone through this part of the contract with you and answered your questions. If the Realtor was representing the Buyer, then they did not have a duty to look after your interests. For this reason I recommend that you discuss any legal contract with your own attorney before entering into it. Best of luck.
- Q. My mother passed away Nov. 2015. I never received my inheritance can call probate yet
- A: If there was a Will, it should have been filed with the probate office at the Courthouse in the County in which your Mother resided when she died. If a probate action was opened, it should be listed online in the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access system. You can go to their website and search using your Mother's last name to see if a probate case has been opened. If you are named as a beneficiary in the Will, then you would be entitled to whatever assets are bequeathed to you in the Will, assuming your Mother still owned those assets at her death AND that her assets exceeded her debts upon death. Your Mother's Will should have named a Personal Representative (also called an Executor) to administer her Estate. You should check with this person to see if the bequests your Mother mentioned to you are in the Will. It seems likely that a probate action from 2015 would have been completed by now, but if no one opened the probate, then perhaps there is a probate process that the Estate still needs to go through before any assets can be distributed.