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Milwaukee estate planning lawyerBy: Attorney Erin Strohbehn

Issues related to adult guardianship have been in the news recently due to a prominent legal case involving Britney Spears. The pop star has spoken out against the conservatorship that has given her father and others control over her life and finances. Because of this, people in Wisconsin may be curious about their own rights in guardianship cases. Those who are looking to establish guardianship or conservatorship for an adult and people who may need assistance with their personal or financial needs can consult with an estate planning attorney to understand their rights and options.

Details of Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Case

As a person who is in the public eye, Britney Spears’ personal struggles have been well-known. Following a meltdown in the mid-2000s, she was placed on an emergency psychiatric hold, and this led people close to her to establish a conservatorship in which her father, Jamie Spears, and other people assumed control over her personal and financial affairs. While some people involved have stated that this conservatorship was meant to be temporary, it has remained in place for 13 years. Ms. Spears has attempted to get out of this legal agreement, and she has claimed that she has been forced to take medications against her will and that she has no control over whether she can get married or have children. Notably, Jamie Spears has received compensation for serving as his daughter’s conservator, including an annual salary of $130,000 and a percentage of the revenues from her performances.

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milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy: Attorney Cameron Weitzner

In the 21st century, people spend a significant percentage of their time online or using computer systems or electronic devices. While most computer-related activity is completely legal, certain activities could potentially lead to criminal charges. Those accused of committing computer crimes will need to understand how the law addresses these types of illegal activities and the potential consequences they could face if they are convicted.

Computer-Related Criminal Charges in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law defines a number of criminal offenses related to computers. These offenses may affect computer data and programs (software) or physical computer systems or networks (hardware). Software-related offenses include illegally accessing computer systems or programs (commonly known as hacking) or modifying, destroying, copying, or taking possession of data or related documentation. Hardware-related offenses include the theft, destruction, or unauthorized use or modification of a computer system, network, equipment, or supplies.

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dog bite lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn

For many people and families, dogs are loving companions. Because of this, it can be easy to forget that dogs can also be dangerous, and they can inflict serious injuries when they bite or attack someone. By working with a personal injury attorney, dog bite victims can take legal action to pursue financial compensation that addresses their injuries and any other damages they have suffered.

Liability for Dog Bites Under Wisconsin Law

Victims of dog bite injuries have the right to pursue compensation from an animal’s owner or another person who was in control of a dog, such as a landlord or pet sitter. Wisconsin law states that a dog’s owner can be liable for the full amount of the damages inflicted by their pet when a dog injures a person or another domestic animal or causes damage to property. 

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motorcycle accident lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn 

Drivers of motor vehicles are required to act safely and take all necessary measures to prevent harm to others who use the roads. Drivers should be sure to understand that motorcycles and bicycles have the right to share the road, and they should follow the correct traffic laws at all times when driving near these vehicles. When bicyclists or motorcyclists are involved in collisions with cars or trucks, they are likely to be seriously injured. In some cases, a driver may claim that they were not responsible for the injuries in a motorcycle accident or bicycle accident because the person was not wearing a helmet. In these situations, injury victims will need to understand their rights and determine how helmet use will affect their ability to receive compensation for their injuries.

Wisconsin Helmet Laws

The state of Wisconsin strongly recommends that motorcyclists and their passengers and bicyclists wear helmets that meet or exceed the standards for protecting against brain injuries. However, the state does not require either adults or children to wear helmets when riding bicycles. Motorcyclists who are at least 18 years old are not required to wear helmets, but helmets are required for cyclists and passengers under the age of 18. Helmets are also required for people with motorcycle learning permits and any passengers they are carrying. 

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milwaukee golf injury lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn

While golf is usually not considered to be a dangerous sport, there are many ways that golfers may be injured, and other people on or near golf courses can also suffer harm due to the actions of golfers or other parties. When these injuries occur because of negligence, victims may be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, some unique legal issues can play a role in these cases, and an experienced attorney can help victims understand their rights and options.

Liability for Golf Course Accidents and Injuries

People who are injured on or around a golf course will need to determine the party or parties responsible for causing them harm and determine whether they have a valid claim for compensation against these parties. Some common golf course injuries include:

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milwaukee injury attorneyOver this past Fourth of July, many people enjoyed using or watching fireworks. While they can be a fun way to celebrate the holiday, fireworks can also be very dangerous, and if they are defective or used incorrectly, they can cause serious injuries. Those who have suffered harm or property damage due to dangerous fireworks will want to work with a personal injury attorney to determine how they can recover financial compensation from those who were responsible.

Fireworks Injuries Have Increased in Recent Years

While people regularly suffer injuries from fireworks, the number of people who have been injured has risen over the past few years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in 2020, more than 15,000 people suffered fireworks-related injuries that required treatment in an emergency room. This was a significant increase from around 10,000 injuries in 2019. The number of deaths related to fireworks also increased, with 18 people being killed in 2020, while 12 people died in 2019.

Most fireworks injuries in 2020 (66%) took place during the month before and after the Fourth of July (June 21-July 21). During this time, burns were the most common type of injury, accounting for 44% of these cases, but people also suffered from contusions (bruises) and lacerations. 30% of injuries affected people’s hands and fingers, while 22% caused harm to the face or ears and 15% affected the eyes. Firecrackers were the most common cause of injuries, accounting for around 1,600 cases, followed by sparklers, which caused around 900 injuries.

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milwaukee property tax assessment lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn

Owners of real estate property are required to pay property taxes, and each year, property tax assessments are performed to determine the value of a property and the portion of a local tax levy that the property owner will be responsible for. A property tax assessment will affect the amount of taxes that a property owner will be required to pay, and property owners will need to make sure their property is valued correctly to avoid being required to pay excessive property taxes. Currently, owners of apartments may be facing financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since the federal moratorium on evictions may have prevented them from removing tenants who have been unable to pay rent. To address issues related to property taxes, apartment owners will need to work with an attorney who can advise them of their options for challenging a property tax assessment.

Property Tax Assessment Appeals for Apartments

Property owners who disagree with an assessment may work directly with an assessor to address this issue. If the issue cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the owner may pursue an appeal with their local Board of Review. If the owner disagrees with the determination of a property’s value made by the Board of Review, then further appeals can be pursued in the Wisconsin circuit court.

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Milwaukee accident lawyerThe use of cell phones and other types of handheld electronic devices has grown significantly over the last couple of decades, and it is likely to continue to increase in the future. The dangers of using electronic devices while driving has become well-known, and to prevent car accidents, talking on cell phones or texting while driving has been discouraged. Many states, including Wisconsin, have passed laws prohibiting drivers from using handheld devices while behind the wheel. However, drivers are still allowed to use hands-free devices such as Bluetooth headsets or speaker systems that connect with their phones. While these types of devices are often seen as safe ways to make phone calls while driving, they may also contribute to dangerous motor vehicle accidents.

Are Hands-Free Devices Safer Than Handheld Devices?

Distracted driving can involve three components: visual distractions in which a person is not looking at the road, manual distractions in which a person uses their hands for tasks other than driving, and cognitive distractions in which a person pays attention to non-driving conversations or activities. While hands-free devices can reduce manual distractions and visual distractions (although a person may still need to look at and touch a phone to make and receive calls), cognitive distractions will still be present while a driver is carrying on a conversation with someone.

The false sense of security provided by hands-free devices is based on the myth of multitasking. While many people believe that they can complete multiple tasks at once, putting one’s attention toward one task will reduce the amount of mental energy used for other tasks. By taking part of their attention away from driving, drivers become more likely to miss important details, and they may be unable to react in time to the sudden movements of vehicles or pedestrians and take action to avoid a collision. In fact, research shows that a person’s field of vision narrows by as much as 50% while they are talking on the phone, and this greatly increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident.

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Milwaukee BWI defense lawyerAs the weather continues to warm up during the summer, more and more people will be spending time on boats and enjoying the many rivers and lakes in Wisconsin. Boating can be a fun and relaxing activity, and it often involves the consumption of alcohol. However, boat operators should be aware that the same laws apply to them as to drivers of motor vehicles. This means that if a person operates a boat while they are under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, they could face criminal charges of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s OWI laws apply to those who operate motorboats. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08% is in effect for boat operators, and a person may be charged with a criminal offense if a chemical test shows that they were above this limit while engaging in the operation of a motorboat. The legal limit for commercial motorboat operators is .04%. Boat operators may also face criminal charges if they have any amount of an illegal controlled substance in their system, and those who are under the age of 21 may be charged if they have a BAC higher than 0.0%

Operating a boat while under the influence is commonly referred to as boating while intoxicated or BWI. A person may be charged with this offense if they exceed the legal BAC limits or if they refuse to take a chemical test for alcohol or other substances. The penalties for BWI include:

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milwaukee family law attorneyBy: Attorney Max T. Stephenson

Most people are familiar with the concept of prenuptial agreements, which are signed by a couple before they get married and address how matters will be handled if they decide to get a divorce in the future. In many cases, a couple may not feel that they need this type of agreement at the time of their marriage, since neither spouse may own significant assets that would need to be protected. However, after multiple years of marriage, the issues that would be addressed in a prenup may become relevant, and either or both spouses may want to put protections in place if the possibility of divorce does enter the picture. In these cases, a couple may consider creating a postnuptial agreement.

When to Use a Postnuptial Agreement

As with a prenup, a postnup can address issues related to a couple’s finances and property and make decisions about what will happen in a potential divorce. An agreement can specify that certain assets are separate property that one spouse will own following a divorce, or it can detail how different assets will be allocated between the spouses during the property division process. An agreement may also make decisions about spousal maintenance, such as by specifying the amount and duration of payments that one spouse will pay to the other following divorce or by waiving a spouse’s right to receive spousal support.

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