Welcome to our website. We invite you to watch our welcome video and learn more about what we do, who we are, and how we can help you create a positive legacy for your family, your commmunity, and your environment.
- OR -
At Christenson and Allex, LLC, we empower our clients with the education they need to create a positive legacy. We review your situation, listen to your ideas, learn about your values, and determine how best to help you achieve a secure future. Contact us to begin creating your positive legacy.
Estate Planning and Settlement of Estates. We use several legal tools, such as Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney to meet your specific estate planning needs, and we can assist you with the probate process, whether you are an estate beneficiary or personal representative.
Elder Law and Special Needs Planning. We can assist you with Medicaid planning, special needs trusts and other legal services so that you can form a plan of care for aging family members or children who have special needs.
Nonprofit and Small Business Law. We provide a variety of services related to forming a non-profit organization or small business, such as business formation documents, partnership agreements, or education regarding Board of Directors and officer fiduciary duties.
Real Estate. We can help you prepare for buying or selling a home or condominium, represent you at closing, or assist you with the many issues that come up during or after a real estate transaction.
Question of the Month
Each month Iris and Johanna answer questions heard frequently from clients.
Question: Can I give away up to $14,000 a year without worrying about the "look-back" period of Medicaid?
Answer: No. The IRS gift tax rules should not be confused with the Medicaid divestment rules. Under the federal gift tax rules there is an annual exclusion from the gift tax for gifts under $14,000 in 2013. If your total gifts during the year to a recipient exceed the $14,000 annual exclusion amount, then you will have to report those gifts to the IRS. The Medicaid rule on gifts is completely different. The Medicaid "look-back" is the period of time during which the state "looks back" to see whether you (or your spouse) made a gift. A gift of ANY size within the five (5) year look-back period can cause a penalty period under the Medicaid rules.
Question: My parents want to leave money to my children in their Wills. I have a disabled child. What should I tell her grandparents?
Answer: Family members do not need to disinherit a child simply because the child has a disability. Careful planning must be done, however, to prevent a situation where your child is named as a beneficiary and finds herself at risk of losing some benefits necessary to cover her basic needs. If family members are considering making your child a beneficiary of their Will, they must name your child's special needs trust as the beneficiary of that child's share. Naming her as a direct beneficiary of assets could cause her to temporarily or permanently lose benefits. Special needs trusts, such as WisPACT II Trust, are a good option in that they can be used to pay for things that the government benefits will not cover such as travel expenses, education expenses, and other things that could enhance your child's life.
Question: I want to plan for my digital estate. Is writing down my usernames and passwords in my Will the best approach when planning for digital assets?
Answer: No. Your Will is not the best place to save this information. One reason is that provisions regarding digital assets may quickly become outdated and information might change before a new Will can be executed. Likewise, it may be critical to access the assets quickly. Another reason to avoid putting sensitive information in your Will is that Wills become available in public records. A more protective approach might be having a separate document containing detailed account information. It is still recommended that you develop an inventory of your digital assets including a list of how and where they are held, along with usernames, passwords and answers to "secret" questions. If you wish to keep this information in a document, you should update it frequently and save it to a USB flash drive or in the cloud. Then, you should make sure that a family member or friend knows the password to access the information.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.