Photo of Charity A. McCarthy, Attorney at Stroud, Willink, & Howard in Madison WI

Charity A. McCarthy


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Paralegal Assistant: Addie Cooper

Practice Areas

Charity represents individuals and business owners with simple to complex estate planning and business succession planning matters.  Charity understands the importance of preserving family and business relationships as part of any planning and approaches all planning with this in mind.  Charity also understands the importance of having a plan be practical and tax efficient and she takes this into consideration as part of any planning.  When dealing with complex legal and tax matters, Charity seeks to promptly identify the issues, explain the issues to her clients in a clear manner and provide feasible options for how to move forward.

Charity also assists businesses with a broad range of corporate matters, including corporate governance documents, nondisclosure agreements, contract matters, stock and asset purchase agreements, real estate matters and deferred compensation plans.  Charity brings her same planning mindset to business matters and is also proactive, efficient and practical in her approach to business matters.

Charity was born on a farm in Lena, Wisconsin and is the 9th of 11 children. Prior to her law career, Charity was an enlisted member in the Air Force, where she was a mechanic during the day and at night she worked to complete her undergraduate degree.

Charity’s greatest joy is spending time with her family and friends.  Charity lives in Mount Horeb with her husband and 4 children.

Practice Experience

  • Assisted beneficiaries with the creation of family limited liability companies to co-own valuable inherited family property in a manner that provided creditor protection, restricted the future ownership of the property and provided buy-out mechanisms at certain triggering events.
  • Assisted business owners with creating sophisticated buy-sell arrangements and structuring the ownership of life insurance policies in a tax efficient manner to fund buy-outs at death.
  • Secured the early termination of multi-million dollar trusts that were no longer necessary in light of changed circumstances.
  • Presented at board of director meetings on certain complex legal issues and assisted board members in making decisions on how to address those issues.
  • Successfully represented an employer before the IRS to obtain approval to retroactively correct a significant noncompliance issue with a retirement plan.

Practice Focus

  • Estate Planning
  • Probate and Trust Administration
  • Succession Planning
  • Corporate Law

Professional Achievements, Honors, and Awards

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Trusts & Estates (2019-2024)
  • Named a Wisconsin Rising Star in Estate Planning & Probate, Business/Corporate (2013-2014)
  • Named a Wisconsin Super Lawyer in Estate & Probate (2023)
  • Selected by In Business magazine as one of its “40 Under 40” (2011)


  • University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 2003
  • Chapman University, B.A., cum laude, 1999


  • State of Wisconsin, 2003

Community Involvement and Memberships

  • Dane County Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Madison Estate Council
  • Forum of Women Estate Counselors
  • Attic Angel Planned and Major Gifts Committee (Community Advisor)
  • Rodney Scheel House Foundation, Ltd (former President and former board member)