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Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy

Estate planning Attorney at Madison, WI

5.0   121 reviews

also known as Dera L. Johnsen


Licensed for 13 years

Free consultation

About Dera

Learn Dera’s areas of practice.

Attorney Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy is a shareholder and co-founder of Horn & Johnsen SC. Dera is a 2008 graduate of Marquette University Law School and focuses her legal practice in the areas of estate planning, probate and guardianship. Prior to completing law school, Dera gained 14 years of legal experience as a paralegal in Texas and Wisconsin. Dera’s extensive experience provided a strong and practical client-centered foundation for her legal practice. She strives to meet the needs of her clients in a personal and efficient manner.

Dera is licensed to practice in Wisconsin. She is an active member of WealthCounsel, a national consortium of estate planning professionals.  She is also licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for both the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin. In furtherance of her passion for helping families plan, she is an active participant in the Wisconsin Wills for Heroes program and the Basic Estate Planning Clinic for Seniors and Veterans for which she was awarded the 2015 Individual Attorney Pro Bono Award by the Dane County Bar Association and for which she was also awarded the 2016 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award by the State Bar of Wisconsin. Dera was selected by Super Lawyers to the 2016 and 2017 Wisconsin Rising Stars list, which is an exclusive list recognizing no more than 2.5% of attorneys in Wisconsin. In addition, she was selected in 2016 as a member of the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, a professional honor also limited to 2.5% of attorneys in Wisconsin.

Dera has been invited as a special guest on a number of radio shows and has been invited to speak as a featured presenter at various conferences throughout Wisconsin and nationally, including the 2015 and 2017 Investor Conferences for the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) in Las Vegas and Orlando, Women Inspiring Change luncheon sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, Future Lifestyles Expo in Madison, All Things Senior Expo in Baraboo, Money Smart Women Conference, Asset Builders Madison Money Conference, estate planning classes through the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) Wisconsin State Convention and “Ready, Set, Retirement!” sponsored by Madison Area Technical College Paralegal Program in cooperation with WPS, Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR), Dane County Bar Association and the State Bar of Wisconsin. Further, Dera has made numerous presentations, both public and private, about estate planning and living trusts including special issues applicable to realtors, small business owners, farmers, pet owners, young families, LGBTQ families and families with special needs children. She is a frequent contributor to Your Family Magazine and she has taught a variety of CE classes to financial professionals and CLE seminars to attorneys through PINNACLE and the National Business Institute (NBI).

Photos and videos

State Bar of Wisconsin Awards Ceremony (2016)
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Licensed for 13 years
State WI
Status Good Standing
Acquired 2009
Updated 09/07/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Dera

Horn & Johnsen SC
Estate Planning Center of Wisconsin
8446 Excelsior Drive, Suite 102
Madison, WI, 53717

Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  121 customer reviews
5 Star
 
98%
4 Star
 
2%
3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
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1 Star
 
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Posted by Arlin Brannstrom | November 9, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Estate Plan
Dera and her staff did a very professional job of preparing us for the process of creating our estate planning documents. We were very pleased with her methodology. There are lots of details and we are happy with the results! We look forward to a continuing relationship!
Posted by Kermit | October 31, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Awesome lawyer!
Dera was great! She was very informative and made everything understandable at a very reasonable price!
Posted by Dawn | October 15, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Delightful Experience
Dera is extremely knowledgeable in her field, explains the process fully. She connects with people easily, therefore understanding their needs and desires. Dera is an engaging, cheerful, intelligent attorney, she was a joy to have complete this process for us.
Posted by Richard & Tammy | September 30, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Trust in building a Trust
Dera was fantastic to work with. She answered all of our questions and gave us detailed information on the why of building a Trust. We now feel so at ease that our wishes are in place and we have someone to call if any changes come up.
Posted by Fred | September 7, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Updated our Estate Plan
My wife and I were happy with how thorough this update of our estate plan was handled. We also especially appreciated the way Dera and Julie explained the plan to our daughters in person.
Posted by Nicholas | August 20, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Estate & Prenuptial Planning
We highly recommend Horn & Johnsen! Dera and her paralegal Julie are knowledgeable and have been friendly throughout the process. We appreciate their clear explanations and how they made sure we had all our questions answered. We also appreciate that they value a long-term commitment. Not only do they encourage us to reach out if when questions, they want to regularly meet with us to review our estate plan every few years. They are also very organized. On our main consultation day, we received binders with all of our documentation, sectioned off neatly into proper categories. Dera and Julie handled most of the tasks, and our few follow-up points were summarized in a checklist. Overall, call Horn & Johnsen! The initial consultation is risk-free, and you'll learn what the process entails. We had put this off for so long, but we’re glad we’ve finally done it!
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Posted by Lisa | August 12, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Updating my Living Trust
Dera and her team were very knowledgeable and detailed when updating my trust document. My question were addressed during our plan review. I feel supported in this process and know when the time comes my family will be in wonderful hands.
Posted by Rob | August 11, 2022
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Excellent Service
Dera is phenomenal at what she does. Estate Planning. She is dynamic and caring. She knows her stuff. I do (and would highly) recommend her to anyone who needs estate planning. FYI everybody needs a estate plan. Call her and she will enlighten you. You wont regret it.
Posted by Sherry | June 23, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Estate Planning Attorney
It was wonderful working with Attorney Dera Johnsen-Tracy and her Paralegal, Julie in setting up our family trust. They took all the time we needed to ensure we understood the documents and answered all our questions. I would highly recommend this team if you are looking to set up your own family trust.
Posted by anonymous | May 26, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Writing a Will
Excellent attorney, knowledgeable, great people skills, prompt, accurate, efficient. Will definitely do business again.
Posted by anonymous | February 22, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent experience
Dera and Julie did a wonderful job setting up my trust. They explained my options thoroughly and were efficient and professional.
Posted by Chris | December 21, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
What a pleasure!
Working with Dera has been enlightening. A consummate professional who left no question unanswered and provided guidance throughout the process. I connected immediately to her communication style, empathy and sense of humor. I will definitely recommend Dera!
Posted by anonymous | November 9, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional and thorough
Dera was supportive, knowledgeable, and reassuring as we completed my estate and end-of-life planning. She walked me through each step providing recommendations as I needed them. I highly recommend her.
Posted by anonymous | October 27, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great job
Dera put together my will and estate plan. It was a very easy process and she and her staff were all incredibly helpful and easy to work with.
Posted by Abby | October 26, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Dera is great!
Experienced, personable, and focused on our specific needs. She knows her stuff, and I know my family’s estate planning needs are taken care of! I can rest easy :)
Posted by Susanna | October 15, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great communicator
Planning for your death is never an easy subject. Dera was referred to us by a friend. I am so glad we went with her. She is warm, kind, friendly, comfortable, yet professional, speaks at your level to make sure you understand all the legal things. I never felt I was putting her out by not doing something right or by not understanding. It was a painless process. I would highly recommend her and her team, Julie! They are the best!
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Posted by KeAnna | October 3, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Amazing
I had such a great experience with Dera and her team. They are very knowledgeable! I knew nothing about estate planning and they made the entire process incredibly easy & seamless. Thank you for such a great experience.
Posted by Ashley | September 24, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly Recommend
Dera made this process so easy! I highly recommend everyone sets up a trust to ensure your assets are left to the people you want them to go to.
Posted by Jean | September 20, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Ms.
Dera made the process of planning my will incredibly easy. I highly recommend her.
Posted by anonymous | June 21, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent
Very easy to understand all aspects of this trust reassessment. Very plain directions and help on changing beneficiaries, a very helpful notebook provided for you with easy language to understand. Laughter and easy going atmosphere make this necessary document a pleasant experience. I highly recommend Dera Johnson and her para-legal Julie.
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Cost

Rates
  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney, Shareholder and Co-Founder
  • Horn & Johnsen SC
  • 2013 - Present
  • Associate Attorney
  • Krueger & Hernandez SC
  • 2009 - 2013
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Globe University
  • 2009 - 2014
  • Paralegal
  • Krueger & Hernandez SC
  • 2000 - 2009
  • Paralegal
  • Wilson Law Group, LLC
  • 1998 - 2000
  • Paralegal
  • Law Office of Charles A. Stephens, II
  • 1994 - 1998
View all work experience

Education

  • Marquette University Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2008
  • Concordia University Wisconsin
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • 2002
  • San Antonio College
  • Associate in Applied Science
  • 1997

Associations

  • Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation
  • Fellow
  • 2016 - Present
  • WealthCounsel
  • Member
  • 2013 - Present
  • Legal Association for Women
  • Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • Wills for Heroes
  • Estate Planning Specialist
  • 2010 - Present
  • Dane County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2009 - Present
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Member
  • 2009 - Present
  • American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
  • Member
  • 2009 - 2013
  • Madison Area Paralegal Association
  • Member / NALA Liaison
  • 1998 - 2008
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Awards

  • Rising Star
  • SuperLawyers
  • 2017
  • Rising Star
  • SuperLawyers
  • 2016
  • Pro Bono Attorney of the Year
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • 2016
  • Individual Attorney Pro Bono Award
  • Dane County Bar Association
  • 2015
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award: Probate Procedure
  • Marquette University Law School
  • 2006
  • Dean's List
  • Marquette University Law School
  • 2006
  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Concordia University Wisconsin
  • 2002
  • Phi Theta Kappa
  • San Antonio College
  • 1997
View all awards

Publications

  • Your Family Magazine
  • Who Will be Responsible for the Debts of My Parents When They are Gone?
  • 2012
  • Your Family Magazine
  • When Your Pets Outlive You
  • 2012
  • Your Family Magazine
  • Health Care Documents Can be as Important as a Will
  • 2012
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • The Legal and Financial Fine Print of Horses
  • Equine Estate Planning
  • 2017
  • ASCLS-WI State Convention
  • The State of Your Estate
  • 2017
  • Farmers Insurance Wisconsin Annual Convention
  • How to Make Sure You Don’t Leave a Mess for Your Loved Ones to Clean Up When You’re Gone
  • 2017
  • Drafting a Living Trust: From Start to Finish
  • Living Trusts
  • 2017
  • Loopholes & Legacies: Strategies for Transferring Retirement Assets to the Next Generation
  • Retirement Planning
  • 2016
  • Retirement Planning Today
  • Estate Planning
  • 2016
  • Avoid the Top Ten Mistakes Made with Beneficiary Designations
  • Estate Planning
  • 2015
  • Guardianships: Creation, Alternatives, Disputes and Enforcement
  • Guardianship
  • 2015
  • The Legal and Financial Fine Print of Horses
  • Pet Trusts
  • 2015
  • Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs
  • Estate Planning
  • 2015
  • Marital Property Agreements in Estate Planning
  • Marital Property Agreements
  • 2015
  • If Something Happens to You, Do You Have a Plan for Your Pet?
  • Pet Trusts
  • 2015
  • Avoid the Top Ten Mistakes Made with Beneficiary Designations
  • Estate Planning
  • 2014
  • Learn How Wisconsin’s Recent Adoption of the Uniform Trust Code Affects Existing and Future Trusts
  • Uniform Trust Code
  • 2014
  • Find it Free and Fast on the Net: Strategies for Legal Research on the Web
  • Internet Research
  • 2014
  • Post DOMA: From the Legal and Financial Perspective
  • LGBT Post-DOMA
  • 2013
  • Estate Planning for the LGBT Community
  • Estate Planning
  • 2013
  • Making Sure Your Estate Goes to the People You Love
  • Estate Planning
  • 2013
  • NMB 2013 Fraternal Leadership Seminar
  • Estate Planning
  • 2013
  • Law Day
  • American Legal System
  • 2011
  • Understanding Your Estate Plan
  • Estate Planning
  • 2011
  • Continuing Education Program
  • Estate Planning and Taxation
  • 2010
  • Estate Planning Seminar For The LGBT Community
  • Estate Planning
  • 2010
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (14)
Given (21)
Estate planning Attorney | Mar 31
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Dera is a leader in the Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts legal community, and the first person I turn to when I have a question on these topics. Her service to her clients is exemplary."
Estate planning Attorney | Oct 24
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy. I presented a seminar on estate planning with Dera and found her working- and professional-knowledge to be superb. She thinks creatively and seeks solutions "outside the box" when needful. I have no reservations in recommending her."
Trusts Attorney | Jul 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I presented with Dera at a seminar. She was very knowledgeable on her topics and had clearly done a lot of work researching and preparing. If she gives the same level of care and attention to her clients that she did on a volunteer basis to this seminar, I would feel lucky to be a client of hers."
Unknown Attorney | Mar 25
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I met Dera through one of the many estate planning courses that she teaches on a volunteer basis. She was and is so knowledgeable and experienced with estate planning law, that no possible scenario is outside of her abilities. I have personally witnessed her approach to swiftly and efficiently handle estate planning cases. She is excellent, and I endorse her."
Estate planning Attorney | Jul 31
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I taught an estate planning and probate class with Dera. She was very knowledgeable and personable. I would certainly recommend her services."
Estate planning Attorney | Jul 31
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Dera is very knowledgeable and practical. A fantastic estate planning attorney."
Estate planning Attorney | Apr 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Dera Johnsen-Tracy is an extremely competent and well-regarded estate planning attorney. She is regularly called upon to present continuing legal education programs to other attorneys and also engages in a significant amount of pro bono work."
Estate planning Attorney | Feb 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. John and Dera are my estate planning attorneys. I was very impressed with my estate plan that was drafted by their firm and the thoughtful questions that they asked when I was thinking about how I wanted to arrange my estate plan. I am very impressed with Dera and how she wants woman to properly plan to ensure they have sufficient money to take care of themselves."
Estate planning Attorney | Nov 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Dera on a professional level for many years. She is an intelligent and highly capable attorney and I have no hesitation in recommending her to any client with estate planning needs."
Estate planning Attorney | Oct 23
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I recommend Dera in the highest possible terms. We’ve worked together extensively on legal matters over many years. First, she’s super-smart. Second she’s got uncommon wisdom, good judgment and significant life experience to back that up. Third, I’ve seen firsthand Dera’s excellence in the law and empathy for the client. Although serious and meticulous in her work, she’s delightful and funny, with an extremely loyal following of clientele. Most of her work centers on estate planning (wills & Trusts), guardianship and probate. In this work, she pays special attention to the particular needs of her clients and their families. I would send my parents to see her. I think Dera is one of those rare attorneys who truly lives-up to the ideals of our profession."
Wills and living wills Attorney | Oct 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Estate planning Attorney | Jan 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Dera is a conscientious, energetic and personable attorney. She presents estate planning issues clearly and provides solutions for her clients based on her extensive knowledge of the law. I recommend Dera Johnsen-Tracy without hesitation."
Estate planning Attorney | Dec 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Dera is a knowledgeable and thoughtful attorney who carefully considers her clients' specific needs. She has a wealth of experience in the estate planning and probate fields, and the skills necessary to effectively advise her clients. I would heartily endorse her to any client with estate-related needs."
Estate planning Attorney | Apr 13
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
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