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Overview

For more than 20 years, Susan has advised individuals and businesses on wealth transfers between generations, achieving clients’ personal estate planning goals while minimizing wealth transfer taxes.

She frequently represents multiple generations of families, a testament to her ability, the value of her work and the trust that clients place in her. Clients find her approachable, attentive, efficient and effective in crafting novel and practical estate planning solutions.

Susan’s deep understanding of individual client goals drives her strategies for business succession planning, probate and trust administration, charitable giving, asset protection and prenuptial agreements.

Susan is adept at crafting integrated solutions for the complex issues facing family-owned businesses. She respects the emotional intricacies of the family and the delicate balance needed to counsel multiple generations. Her experience with trust, estate and fiduciary litigation also bolsters her estate planning and estate and trust administration practice – providing a guide for “what NOT to do.”


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers, 2011-2018
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Attorneys
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Trusts & Estates, 2013-2019
  • Crescendo Business Services, FIVE STAR Wealth Manager, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
  • Women Leaders in the Law, 2015

Education

  • J.D., Marquette University Law School
  • B.A., St Mary's College
    • cum laude

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Milwaukee Midwinter Estate Planning Group
  • Milwaukee Bar Association Estate & Trust (Probate) Section, Chair, 2009-2010, 2011-2012
  • Milwaukee Bar Association Estate & Trust (Probate) Section, Program Chair, 2010-2011
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Bar Association
  • Milwaukee Estate Planning Forum, 2002-present
  • Association for Women in Law, Estate Planning Discussion Group, Assistant Director of Membership, 2002-2003
  • Milwaukee Estate Planning Council, 2002-2004
Featured Case Study

Estate Successfully Settled After Resolution of Diverse Legal Details

Estates can be profoundly complex and multi-layered. In one estate case, Susan defended a will contest; litigated a foreclosure; refinanced multiple loans in a debt resolution agreement; pursued the collection of monies paid for custom art that was never produced; settled and cleared numerous claims totaling more than $10 million; and represented the estate in a trade secret dispute.


Additional Experience

Estates and Trusts

  • Advised on design and implementation of estate plans.
  • Handled trust and estate administration, prenuptial agreements and special needs trusts.
  • Structured gifts and testamentary transfers to family endowment trusts or dynasty trusts.
  • Drafted charitable trusts.

Closely Held Businesses

  • Implemented sophisticated insurance planning for estate tax liquidity for high-net-worth business owner, including complex premium financing.
  • Counseled clients on entity selection, business succession planning, exit strategies and buy-sell agreements.
  • Developed integrated solutions for complex issues facing family-owned businesses.
  • Guided business owners in transferring entities to next generation while maintaining control of business with strategies such as sales to intentionally defective grantor (family) trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts and sophisticated insurance planning, including complex premium financing to provide liquidity for estate taxes.

Private Foundations

  • Advised clients on creation and operation of private foundations.

Trust, Estate and Fiduciary Litigation

  • Represented beneficiaries, fiduciaries and others in litigation, will contests and other disputes, involving issues such as undue influence, testamentary capacity and mistake.
  • Represented families in issues surrounding review of trustee's performance and agent's performance as a fiduciary.
Outside the Office

Susan devotes much of her time away from work to her large blended family of two teenagers, three grown stepchildren and an assortment of step-grandchildren.

She also enjoys yoga and travel, especially to Southern California. Susan has a yellow Lab that accompanies her on frequent walks.

Community Leadership
  • Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Open Door Café, Volunteer