Experienced Attorneys Helping Wisconson Families with Planning their Estate
When it comes to deciding which types of documents to use for your estate plan, the decision rests on a number of factors relating to your family and financial circumstances, and your final wishes. There are many different options available, each with its own specific purpose and its own unique benefits and limitations. Understanding the estate planning tools that are available and the role each one can play in your overall plan is an important first step toward putting a well-considered estate plan in place.
While certain types of estate planning documents – like your will – can address multiple areas, there are several types of estate planning documents that are specifically designed to address specific individual areas. Some of these areas are:
- Property Distribution
- Planning for Incapacity During Your Lifetime
- Childrearing After Death
- Management of Your Final Affairs
Choosing the Right Documents for Your Estate Plan
1. Property Distribution
Deciding which family members, charitable organizations, or other beneficiaries should receive your assets after your death is, for many, the central role of the estate planning process. When deciding, in simplest terms, who gets what, there are several considerations to keep in mind. From minimizing your estate’s tax burden to retaining a certain level of control over your estate after you die (for example, by restricting your children’s access to certain assets until they reach the age of majority), each of these considerations will factor into the choice of documents to be used in your estate plan. Some of the options include:
- Revocable Trust (or “Living Trust”)
- Irrevocable Trust
- Special Needs Trust
- Transfer-On-Death (TOD) and Payable-On-Death (POD) Deeds and Designations
2. Planning for Incapacity During Your Lifetime
An often-overlooked aspect of the estate planning process is planning for incapacity. If you fall ill or become unable to care for yourself in old age, who will manage your financial affairs and make important health-related decisions on your behalf? In Wisconsin, the primary tools for incapacity planning are powers of attorney.
3. Childrearing After Death
If you have minor children, an important component of your estate plan will be designating the person who will raise your children in the event that neither parent is alive. The primary tool for this is your will.
4. Management of Your Final Affairs
Finally, following your death, someone will need to step in and manage your final affairs. This includes doing things like identifying and preserving your assets, administering the distribution of your property, paying taxes, and ensuring that the remainder of your final wishes are carried through. If you establish one or more trusts, this person will be the trustee named in your trust documents. For any non-trust assets, it will be the personal representative named in your will.
Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.
Speak with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Wausau, WI
The lawyers at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. provide comprehensive estate planning services for individuals in Wisconsin. If you would like to schedule an initial planning session at our offices in Wausau, WI, please call (715) 842-2291 or send us a message online today.