Axiom | Vol 242

FEATURED: Meet The Axiom’s Guest Editor: Michael J. Mihm | Inside: Stellar Earnings Go Unrewarded By The Markets – A Repeat Of The Markets In 2000? | Poll: Are You Using Grocery Delivery Service More Than You Did A Year Ago? | MoneyDo: Discover What Probate Is & When It’s Needed | Ask Annex: I Inherited An Estate With An IRA And I Have 10 Years To Liquify And I Want To Divide The Bulk Of The Ira To My Children…| DYADT: Does Your Advisor Explain How The CARES Act Affects Your Financial Plan? | Superbowl 55: Lowest TV Ratings Since 2007 | Better Economic Data | How To Look At Your Quarterly Statement

Hey there, I’m Mike Mihm, Branch Director and Wealth Manager for our downtown Milwaukee office in the iconic Pfister Hotel.

I’ve been in the financial services business for over 25 years and I love helping people take care of the things they care about. It’s very gratifying to get up each morning knowing that you’re part of a great team at Annex and that we really can make a difference for our clients.

My wife, Nora, and I both grew up just a couple of miles away from our current home in Elm Grove. We have five kids, three girls and two boys. And two dogs, one of which is a recent addition to the family, a labradoodle puppy which was a “gift” from our kids for our 25th wedding anniversary last fall. Three of our kids are now attending Marquette University and as a former Badger, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever have a UW-Madison graduate. It’s definitely nice having everyone close to home as we really enjoy our time together, most of the time!

Annex Wealth Management’s Dave Spano and Derek Felske discuss why rates are rising and why the markets may not be rewarding stellar earnings.

Stellar Earnings Go Unrewarded By The Markets – A Repeat Of The Markets In 2000?

Grocery shopping has evolved over the last year and US shoppers are finding new ways to stock up. A year ago, around 81% of consumers had never bought groceries online, but during the COVID-19 pandemic nearly 79% of shoppers have ordered online. Online grocery sales totaled $1.2 billion last year, with the total increasing to $7.2 billion last June. The variety of online grocery delivery services has also evolved with more options and companies to chose from than ever.

Discover What Probate Is & When It’s Needed

Probate may be one of the most misunderstood parts of the estate settlement process. Unfortunately, the term “probate” has garnered some negative connotations through headlines and heavily publicized cases that have gone wrong and dragged on for years. 

Your Money Do this week is to get a better understanding of what probate is, and when it may be necessary.

Probate is the court-supervised process to validate an individual’s Last Will & Testament and legally transfer ownership of property to the named beneficiaries, while protecting the rights of all heirs and creditors. That’s right, having a Will alone does not avoid the probate process. So, if have a Last Will, your loved ones may end up in Probate Court after your death! The probate process is also used if an individual dies without a Will.

Probate is necessary if you own assets in your sole name at death and there are no joint owners, beneficiary designations, transfer on death or payable on death instructions on the account.


Types of Assets And Accounts That Typically Avoid Probate

Jointly Owned Property – such as joint with right of survivorship between spouses or joint bank accounts.

Accounts and Assets with beneficiaries or transfer on death directions or payable on death provisions.

In addition, the State of Wisconsin has a small estate settlement option that avoids probate, if your individual assets are less than $50,000 in total. The amount and options vary by state.

Additional options available to avoid probate include Revocable Trusts, and potentially Marital Property Agreements in some states.


When Probate Could Be A Better Option

In some circumstances, probate may be a better course of action, such as:

If you were to die with minor children who need to have a legal guardian appointed to take care of them going forward.

If you die with more debts than you have assets, as the probate court will help settle your final debts with your creditors.

When family members and beneficiaries do not get along and may contest any aspect of your estate plan, the probate court is the final decision maker on any disputes that may arise.


If Probate Is Necessary

If probate is needed, the named personal representative will open an estate proceeding in Probate Court to be legally appointed to act on behalf of the estate. The probate process is public in nature and, on average, takes between 9 and 15 months to complete.

The time-frame is not necessarily shorter when using some of the other non-probate transfer options previously mentioned, as there is always a process to settle one’s affairs after death even without probate.

Estate proceedings are often done under the guidance of an estate or probate attorney.

The personal representative is given all powers necessary to settle your affairs, which includes the power to identify, collect, and manage assets while ensuring all debts, expenses, claims and taxes are paid prior to making any distributions to named beneficiaries.

During the court process there are a variety of filing and notice requirements that the personal representative must adhere to along the way.


If you are concerned about Probate, you should get in contact with an estate planning attorney that can advise you on alternatives and help implement a comprehensive estate plan.

I really enjoy the Ask Annex part of the Axiom, especially when we get questions that really make us think and have us tap into the wisdom of our talented team members! 

– Guest Editor, Michael J. Mihm, CHFC®, CLU®
Branch Director, Pfister Office


This week’s Ask Annex comes from Lois, who asks:

“I have inherited an estate with a IRA in which I have 10 years to liquify. I am also executor of the will in which I need to give out some money, I want to divide the bulk of the IRA to my children and I need advice on how best to do that, considering taxes, etc.”

This week’s Ask Annex response was prepared by our guest editor, Mike Mihm. Mike wrote back:

Hi Lois, thanks for your question. As you know, I reached out to you on the phone get some more background before I worked on your response. Since there are a lot of moving parts here and in discussing this with our Estate Planning attorney, we thought it would be best to have a conversation with you and ask some follow up questions.

Your options will depend on where you are in the process with the IRA. For example, have you already established an Inherited/Beneficiary IRA for your benefit or is that something that you’re currently evaluating?

If the IRA for your benefit has already been established, then an option may be to do some gifting from the distributions to your children. If the Inherited/Beneficiary IRA has not been established yet, then there may be some options for disclaiming it to have the funds go to your children.

The Financial Planning Department at Annex Wealth Management is digging into the 880 page CARES Act to see how it affects our clients. In this first episode, our Financial Planning Manager, Randy Winkler, CFP®, reviews some of the larger aspects of the relief act.

Does Your Advisor Explain How the CARES Act Affects Your Financial Plan? 


Superbowl55: Lowest TV Ratings Since 2007


Better Economic Data


How To Look At Your Quarterly Statement

I also really appreciate our dedication to education and the many ways we help to inform people about important planning and investment considerations. Our upcoming events are a couple of great examples and there’s no cost or obligation for attending!

– Guest Editor, Michael J. Mihm, CHFC®, CLU®
Branch Director, Pfister Office


Annex Wealth Management provides free workshops, open to the public, on key wealth management topics.

Each week, we provide links to register for upcoming events.