Thomas B. Burton

Thomas B. Burton

Attorney, Law Office of Thomas B. Burton
  • Estate Planning, Business Law, Real Estate Law...
  • Minnesota, Wisconsin
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial MediaResponsive Law

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 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. Harnessing the power of technology, I operate a virtual law office out of my home office based in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. A "virtual office", means that I do not maintain physical office space in which to meet with clients. This enables me to help people all across the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota and allows individuals and families to receive certain legal services from the convenience of their own home or office. For clients in the surrounding area, I also offer the option to meet with me in person at a conference room I utilize in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For more information on how this works and for further contact information, please visit my website at

Practice Areas
  • Estate Planning
  • Business Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Trademarks
  • 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 $230/hour. Please contact me via email for my most current hourly rates.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
U.S. Tax Court
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
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
Professional Associations
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
Articles & Publications
10 Questions: Tom Burton: How a Nontechie Built a Virtual Practice
Wisconsin Lawyer
Websites & Blogs
Home Page of the Law Office of Thomas B. Burton
What is Flow Through Taxation for a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

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...

Legal Answers
37 Questions Answered

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.
Q. what are the risks to using probate rather than a trust in florida?
A: If your Aunt has a properly set up Trust, then the best way to avoid probate is often to have the assets pass through the Trust. I do not know the specifics of this situation, but it is possible that your Aunt set up the Trust but did not properly fund the trust (meaning she didn't transfer her home or other assets into the name of the Trust). If this is the case, the Trust itself would be an empty vessel, and her assets which remain outside of the Trust would still need to go through probate to get to your Aunt's heirs. I would discuss this situation further with your attorney and ask him/her why they are saying the probate action is necessary. Finally, it may be a situation where some of the assets are in the Trust and some of the assets are outside of the Trust. In Wisconsin, if you have assets which exceed $50,000 in value held outside the Trust, then a full probate proceeding is needed to transfer those assets to the heirs. If the assets are below $50,000 there is a simplified process for transferring assets, but it still involves the court system. I am not sure if there is a similar system in Florida.
Q. Home listing -The owner is deceased and the agent says the “kids told him they have right to sell” How do we verify.
A: I agree with Attorney Greller, whoever is named as the Personal Representative of the Estate (if the owner died with a Will) or the Trustee of the Trust (if the home was held in a Trust) will have the authority to enter into contracts to sell the home. Ask the children for the Letters Testamentary issued by the Court to the Personal Representative for proof of their authority to sell the home to you, or if it is in a Trust, for a copy of the Trust document showing who the current Trustee is and their authority to sell the home under the Trust document.
Q. In the State of Wisconsin, can a person, who has an activated HCPOA, execute a new HCPOA with a different designee?
A: As long as the principal (the person who created the Health Care Power of Attorney "HCPOA") is mentally competent, and is not currently incapacitated as is defined in the document, they are free to execute a new HCPOA, and name a new Agent to act for them in the event of their incapacity, at any time. A person who has been deemed incompetent for purposes of activating a HCPOA can regain competency at a later time. This situation happens regularly in the case of surgery, where a person is put under the influence of drugs. In order to be valid the HCPOA must be executed in front of two disinterested witnesses who are not related to the principal and who are not health care providers.
Q. We have a cabin & have 2 sons. We want to give one son 1/2 of what the cabin is worth. Say it's worth $150,000.
A: It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If I understand correctly you want to gift $75,000 in cash to one son today. Instead of cash, you plan to leave the other son your cabin at death. You could order an appraisal of the cabin now and figure out what it is worth. If it is worth exactly $150,000 today, then giving one son $75,000 today would be the same as giving him one half of the cabin right now. A dollar tomorrow is worth less than a dollar today, due to inflation and opportunity cost, so if you gave one son $75,000 cash today and that equals half of the fair market value of the cabin today, then you would be treating each son equally. The appreciation on the cash would belong to one son, and the appreciation on the cabin (if any) would belong to the other son. The other method would be to give one son $75,000 right now and then say that this amount would be deducted from his share of your estate upon your death (whatever that final amount is). Since property values and the stock market fluctuate daily, you can never be sure exactly what something will be worth at death. For this reason, many estate planners include provisions in their documents that your real estate will be assessed upon death using the fair market value on the date of your death. You then use these values to divide the estate evenly, or to deduct any amounts for gifts already given to children during your lifetime. A final option would be to leave your sons and equal interest in the cabin, and leave some cash to the other son (who did not get cash during your lifetime) to even things out. There are many ways to do this and I suggest you consult with a qualified estate planning attorney who can guide you through your options.
Q. My father passed away and I am the sole heir, his girlfriend lives in his house for 5 years and does not pay rent.
A: You should see if your father executed a Will before he died. If he had a Will, this document will state what was to happen to his assets and should name a Personal Representative in charge of the Estate. Your Father's house is now owned by his Estate, and unless his Will stated that his girlfriend could remain in the home for a period of time after his death, then she likely has no right to remain in the home after your father's death. The Personal Representative will be the person in charge of securing the estate, administering the assets, and ultimately distributing the assets to heirs under the supervision of the probate court. The Personal Representative would also be the person in charge of changing the locks on the house at some point, but they should not proceed before they have been appointed by the Court. I recommend you seek the help of a qualified probate attorney with these matters.
Q. My daughters father died in a accident 3/22. He had no will, lived in Mn & Fl and owns $ do I start probate?
A: Hello, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your daughter's father. The previous advice you received is correct, if your daughter's father passed away without holding the real estate in Florida and Minnesota in a Trust, then a probate action will likely need to be opened in both states for the respective properties in each state. If he died without a Will, then his property will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in each state, generally to the closest living relatives. If your daughter is his only child, she is likely the only heir in each state. I recommend you consult with a qualified probate attorney in the state and County where your daughter's father owned real estate for help moving forward. Best of luck to you.
Q. how To avoid loosing a house to the nursing home so my moms significant other won’t become homeless in wi
A: If your Mom is married to the person in question, the community spouse can remain in the home, while the other spouse (called the institutionalized spouse) applies for Medicaid. This would allow the community spouse to continue living in the house until their death, after which the State of Wisconsin may seek recovery from the Community Spouse's Estate for any payment made for long term care for the institutionalized spouse. So you should not worry about the community spouse being able to live in the home as long as your Mom is married to this person. If they are not legally married, then they would not qualify as the community spouse. There are other methods for protecting assets, such as using an irrevocable trust, but these are subject to a 5 year Medicaid lookback period so you need to do them well in advance of the time you plan to apply for Medicaid in order for them to be effective. I suggest you consult with a qualified estate planning and elder law attorney for help so they can review the specifics of your case and give you the best advice possible.
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Contact & Map
Satellite Office--Available by Appointment Only
310 Pinnacle Way
Suite #300
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Telephone: (715) 575-9732
Fax: (715) 575-9738
Chippewa Falls, WI, USA
Telephone: (715) 575-9732
Fax: (715) 575-9738